The Armoured Dogs of War
British responses to ﬁve years of military fatalities in Afghanistan
and Iraq, and future opportunities for military suppliers
Version 1.0 – 4 March 2007
British fatalities in Afghanistan and Iraq: a case study
British forces have suffered 177 fatalities in ﬁve years of ﬁghting. Studying the causes of the losses points to
opportunities by which military planners and arms industry strategists can improve performance in the next war.
British troops have been at war in Afghanistan and Iraq for just prepare for campaigns that they might consider undertaking or
over ﬁve years, and in this time, have suffered 177 fatalities. The supporting in the next decade or so. British fatalities are
Ministry of Defense has three sound reasons for caring about particularly useful to study for three reasons:
the rate and overall size of the loss:
✦ Completeness of information. The Ministry of Defence
✦ Care of the troops. Government ministers care about their maintains excellent websites providing rather complete
soldiers, but even if this were not enough, fatalities are details of the causes of and circumstances around each
expensive. Every lost soldier entails a real expense to the fatality that British forces have suffered. Even where details
government in death beneﬁts, recruiting costs, and training have been omitted for a reason of operational security (e.g.,
costs for replacements. the dead soldier’s membership in the Special Air Service
Regiment), the British media have been particularly adept at
✦ Continuance of the war. While the losses have not terminated uncovering the details. While US forces have suffered many
either campaign, they have rallied some opposition to the more fatalities, the US military services have varied in the
war effort in Britain, and enough opposition could eventually details they have provided. The US Army has deliberately
interfere with Her Majesty’s Government’s pursuit of its (and more successfully) obfuscated the circumstances of
political objectives. some fatalities to enhance security, and the US Marine
Corps never provides any cause of death more speciﬁc than
✦ Operational freedom. If British troops and their commanders “as a result of enemy action.”
can be more conﬁdent of their security, they can act more
boldly in pursuing the enemy. The alacrity of British forces in ✦ Comparative operating environments. British forces have been
pursuit of Sadrist militiamen in Basra and Maysan Provinces at war in two rather different countries for several years,
in Iraq has been debated recently, but the option for more and the differences in the nature of the ﬁghting provides
energy in the pursuit of the enemy is rarely harmful. opportunities to compare threats.
Defense ministries and their suppliers around the world might
consider the British experience in Afghanistan and Iraq as they
JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 2
✦ World (non-super) power status. Britain is a world power, but Studying British problems thus can provide lessons to military
not a superpower. The two campaigns in which British planners in the US and elsewhere, and to armaments industry
troops are ﬁghting are challenging tactically and logistically, strategists interested in serving global markets.
and indeed, would be a challenging assignment for the
armed forces of almost any other country in the world. The As shown in the table on the preceding page, British fatalities
British forces waging these campaigns are well-equipped, but over the past ﬁve years can be grouped into seven categories:
they have signiﬁcantly greater resource constraints than
American forces. ✦ Own goals is possibly a ﬂippant term for non-hostile
fatalities, but the moniker deﬁnes the problem. These are
British fatalities in Iraq, by cause, fatalities in which British forces or their own equipment
March 2003 through March 2007 were the cause of the death in question. The group includes
aircraft accidents, trafﬁc accidents, a single maintenance
accident, accidental weapons discharges, fratricides, suicides,
cause Afgh. Iraq total
and a single homicide committed by a British solider against
Total fatalities 50 127 177 another.
Own goals (accidents, fratricides, etc.) 22 45 67 ✦ Hostile gunshots are the next leading problem. Almost all of
these fatalities have been suffered on foot, but a few rounds
Hostile gunshots 13 30 43 have penetrated Land Rovers or killed top sentries on
Bombs (mines, IEDs, etc.) 6 33 39
✦ Bombs (so-called improvised explosive devices, or IEDs) and
Hostile anti-aircraft (missile and gun) ﬁre 0 15 15 land mines have been the next leading killer, particularly in
Iraq, where building better devices seems to have become a
Hostile rocket-propelled grenades 9 0 9
sport amongst the insurgents.
Hostile cannon, mortar, and AT missile ﬁre 0 1 1
✦ Two losses of British aircraft to hostile ground ﬁre contributed
Complex attacks 0 3 3 over eight percent of all operational military fatalities in the
theater in the past ﬁve years.
✦ Rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) have been a signiﬁcant
problem in Afghanistan, though seemingly far less a problem
JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 3
in Iraq. This is notable, given the fuss that has been made
over the threat from RPGs, and the efforts that have gone
into devising defenses against them.
✦ Cannons, mortars, and anti-tank missiles have contributed just
a handful of fatalities. This is probably not surprising, since
roadside bombs, Kalashnikovs, and RPGs are the favored
weapons of insurgents.
✦ Complex attacks are those in which the enemy coordinated
the ﬁre of multiple categories of weapons against a single
target. The analysis here assumes that RPGs and small arms
can be lumped into a single category of infantry weapons.
This approach looks for losses in which a bomb attack was
followed with mortar ﬁre, or in which an anti-tank missile
or mine was used to stop an armored vehicle so that
automatic weapons ﬁre could be directed at whomever
popped the hatches to shoot it out.
JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 4
Aircraft crashes and trafﬁc accidents have caused almost as many deaths (44) amongst British troops in Afghanistan
and Iraq as anti-aircraft ﬁre and roadside bombs (49).
Own goals (if one can include the homicide) have accounted for ✦ Fourteen dead in the loss of a Nimrod MR2 of 120
45% of all British fatalities in Afghanistan and almost 36% in Iraq Squadron near Kandahar on 2 September 2006. According
The fatalities in this category can be separated into ﬁve groups: to the conclusion of the subsequent RAF board of inquiry,
the aircraft came down after a massive internal explosion
Non-hostile British fatailities in Afghanistan and caused by a combination of a fuel line leak and an electrical
Iraq, by cause, March 2003 through March 2007 fault.
cause Afgh. Iraq total Three helicopter crashes comprise the other incidents:
Own goals 22 45 67 ✦ Eight dead in the crash of a USMC CH-46 Sea Knight on 21
March 2003. Since neither the aircraft nor its crew were
Aircraft crashes 14 15 29 British, not much can be said about remedial actions.
Ground vehicle crashes 3 12 15 ✦ Six dead (all Royal Navy ﬂight lieutenants) in a collision
between two Sea Kings of 849 Squadron the very next day
Weapons accidents 0 5 5 ✦ One dead in the crash of a Puma of 33 Squadron at Basra
International Airport on 19 March 2004
Other accidents 1 2 3
It is notable that ground vehicle crashes have accounted for
Suicides fratricides, homicides 4 11 15
nearly one-tenth of all fatalities of British forces in Iraq. The
fatalities do not appear clustered in time. At least, this is true if
Aircraft crashes have been by far the leading contributor. Almost the deaths of two SAS men in Baghdad in the early morning of
half of these, and more than half of all non-hostile fatalities in New Years’ Day, 2004, are considered an anomaly. Only three
Afghanistan, were suffered in a single incident: trafﬁc fatalities have occurred amongst British troops in
JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 5
A Royal Air Force Puma helicopter in better times
(at the Royal International Air Tattoo in July 2005).
Photograph courtesy of Adrian Pingstone.
Afghanistan in the past ﬁve years, though this is probably
expected, since Afghanistan is a considerably less urbanized
country than Iraq.
Of the suicides, accidental gunshots, and other unspeciﬁed
accidents, some details have been published, but the publicly
available details do not seem to point to an overarching problem
that is easily addressed.
Roadside bombs and landmines have vexed British troops almost as much as they have their American allies.
Bomb attacks are another matter: the objects of the assaults Of the 22 killed in bomb attacks on Land Rovers, 13 were from
have generally been identiﬁed in either the ofﬁcial casualty infantry regiments, 5 from cavalry regiments, 2 from the Royal
reports or subsequent newspaper articles. Land Rovers (as has Artillery, and 1 from the intelligence corps. The artillerists were
been widely reported in the British press) have taken the brunt from 12 Regiment, Royal Artillery, which had largely been
of the attacks, as indicated in the table on the next page. operating in the infantry role in Iraq. The Warrior ﬁghting
vehicles in question belonged to the Black Watch, the Light
JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 6
Infantry, and the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment. The relative
success of the insurgents against them parallels that against the
Americans’ Bradley ﬁghting vehicles. The single Rigid Raiding
Craft in question was attacked by a bomb hung from a bridge
on the Shatt al Arab; the craft and some of its crew came from
539 Assault Squadron of the Royal Marines.
British fatalities due to bomb attacks in
Afghanistan and Iraq, by vehicle, March 2003
through March 2007
cause Afgh. Iraq total
Bombs 6 33 39
A rather large IED found by the Iraqi Police in Baghdad in
in Land Rovers 2 20 22 November 2005. Photograph courtesy of the US Army.
in Warrior ﬁghting vehicles 0 5 5
in Rigid Raiding Craft 0 4 4 The loss of 22 soldiers in Land Rovers to mines and roadside
bombs has caught the attention of the Ministry of Defence. As I
on foot 4 3 7 will note later, the Land Rovers are being replaced immediately,
if in part, by Bulldog and Mastiff armored troop carriers, and
in an ambulance 0 1 1 later and more fully by Panther Command and Liaison Vehicles
JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 7
Hostile gunshots have killed about a quarter of all the British troops lost in the past ﬁve years.
Hostile gunshots have accounted for 27% of fatalities in British fatalities due to hostile gunshots in Iraq, by
Afghanistan, and 23% of all fatalities in Iraq. All of the fatal enemy vehicle, March 2003 through March 2007
gunshots in Afghanistan were suffered by men on foot, as have
been two-thirds of those suffered in Iraq. cause Afgh. Iraq Total
The three military policemen killed in August 2003 in an Hostile gunshots 13 30 43
unmarked SUV (Major Matthew Titchener, Company Sergeant
Major Colin Wall, and Corporal Dewi Pritchard) were run off the on foot 13 20 33
road by militiamen ﬁring automatic weapons and hurling
grenades. Since the primary weapon used in the attack seems to in a Land Rover 0 4 4
have been an assault riﬂes, I have coded the fatalities in question
in an unmarked sport utility vehicle 0 3 3
as primarily the result of gunshots.
in a Warrior Fighting Vehicle 0 3 3
The three soldiers killed by gunshots in Warriors were hit by
sniper ﬁre as they rode part way out of the top hatches. This has
been a considerable problem for American troops in Iraq, at least
until the wider introduction of remote weapon stations for
armored vehicles. Why more British troops have not been killed
in this fashion by snipers is not completely clear, though the most
recent in question is the last in the database, as of this update
(Private Jonathon Wysoczan of the Staffordshire Regiment, killed
in Basra on 4 March 2007).
As I will describe later, the problem is considerable, but it is also
part and parcel of ﬁghting insurgents.
JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 8
Two shots have accounted for over 10% of British fatalities in the two campaigns combined.
The next category comprises two losses of aircraft to hostile ﬁre thought that many serviceable rounds remain at large from that
from the ground, as indicated in the table at right. time frame.*
Not counted here is a fratricidal loss of a Tornado ﬁghter jet of
IX Squadron RAF, and its two crewmen, on 23 March 2003, to a
Patriot missile ﬁred by the US Army. While this incident was listed British fatalities from anti-aircraft missiles over
earlier with the other fratricides, its mention here highlights the Iraq, by incident, March 2003 through March 2007
difﬁculty in avoiding anti-aircraft weapons like the Patriot. An F-18
Hornet jet of then US Navy fell to another missile of the same cause fatalities
brigade that same month.
Anti-aircraft ﬁre (missiles and guns) 15
While it is difﬁcult to determine exactly what weapon brought
down the Sea King and the Hercules, it is clear that just two Ground ﬁre (classiﬁed source) vs. Hercules transport, 10
weapons (whether missiles or guns) have accounted for over ten 47 Squadron (30 January 2005)
percent of all British fatalities in Iraq so far.
Insurgent’s shoulder-ﬁred weapon vs. Lynx helicopter, 5
Note that no British aircraft have been lost to hostile ﬁre in 847 Squadron (6 May 2006)
Afghanistan. While Mujahideen Stinger missiles (supplied by the
US) were effective against Soviet aircraft in the 1980s, it is not
Examination of Soviet combat records has indicated that the appearance of Stinger missiles in Afghanistan in the mid-1980s did not greatly increase Soviet aircraft
losses. Rather, they immediately lead the Soviet 40th Army to severely restrict daylight ﬂying at low altitudes, which itself had an adverse affect on the war effort. See
the editors’ note on page 222 in Valentin Runov, The Soviet-Afghan War: How a Superpower Fought and Lost, translated by Lester Grau & Michael Gress, The Univer-
sity Press of Kansas, 2002.
JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 9
RPGs have become a signiﬁcant killer of British troops, but only of late and only in Afghanistan.
RPGs, while seemingly unthreatening in Iraq, have accounted for two were killed in a Land Rover, which admittedly provides
almost one-ﬁfth of British fatalities in Afghanistan. All of these rather little protection against RPGs. Two more soldiers died
fatalities have been suffered in Helmand Province since June 2006 when RPGs were used against the ﬁeld fortiﬁcation that they
(when British and Canadian forces began signiﬁcant offensives were defending—this tactic is reasonably common, having been
against the Taliban in Helmand and Kandahar). used by Hezbollah ﬁghters against Israeli positions in the 2006
Lebanon campaign, and by US Army airmobile troops in their
British fatalities due to RPGs in Afghanistan and attack on Saddam Hussein’s sons in August 2003.
Iraq, by vehicle, March 2003 through March 2007
cause Afgh. Iraq Total
All losses to RPG ﬁre 9 0 9
in a CVR(T) 3 0 3
in a Land Rover 2 0 2
on foot 2 0 2
pending 2 0 2
Canadian soldier ﬁres an RPG back at Taliban ﬁghters during the
Three of these fatalities were suffered when a Taliban grenadier
ﬁrst Battle of Panjwaii on 18 June 2006. Image by Scott Kesterson.
destroyed a Scorpion CVR(T) light tank in August 2006. Another
JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 10
Addressing the causes of fatalities
Three courses of actions by the Ministry of Defence are already addressing the causes of almost half of the fatalities
suffered by British forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.
By combining fatalities from related causes, we can theorize that Note that I say potentially. This does not mean, by any means,
almost half of British fatalities in Afghanistan and Iraq over the that all 63 fatalities could have been avoided. The insurgents in
past four years could potentially have been avoided by three sets Afghanistan Iraq are rather more capable than that, and no
of actions: amount of bullet-(or blast-) prooﬁng can account for all
contingencies. Rather, it merely points the way to three fertile
Remedial actions for addressing British fatalities in areas for developing and marketing solutions for lowering
Afghanistan and Iraq suffered over the past ﬁve fatalities in combat, at least according to recent British
years experience in Iraq:
Remedial action fatalities
Retroﬁtting better fuel safety systems in ﬁxed- 24 Retroﬁtting better fuel safety systems in ﬁxed- and
and rotary-wing transport aircraft rotary-wing transport aircraft.
Fitting better collision avoidance and defensive 11 Two aircraft and 24 men have been lost after fuel vapor
aids to rotary wing aircraft explosions, whether caused by internal faults or enemy action:
Replacing Land Rovers with more bullet-, blast-, 28 ✦ Fourteen dead in the loss of a Nimrod reconnaissance
and crash-resistant vehicles aircraft of 120 Squadron near Kandahar on 2 September
JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 11
✦ Ten dead in the loss of a Hercules transport aircraft of 47 Fitting better collision avoidance and defensive aids to
Squadron in central Iraq on 30 January 2005 rotary wing aircraft.
The loss of the Nimrod was covered earlier. In late February The Lynx helicopter lost over Basra from 847 Naval Air
2007, the RAF grounded its entire Nimrod ﬂeet after a dent was Squadron is known to have carried an infrared jammer, chaff,
found in a fuel line during a routine maintenance check. ﬂares, a radar warning receiver, and a laser warning receiver.
Safeguarding the Nimrods is of some strategic importance, as the That said, it was not the best defensive aids suite available to
RAF has a ﬂeet of only 15 remaining. British aircraft today. Selex’s well-regarded HIDAS (Helicopter
Defensive Aid System) has been selected for the 70 Future Lynx
While the details are classiﬁed, the Hercules crashed after taking helicopters that the British Army (40) and the Royal Navy (30)
ﬁre, while ﬂying at low altitude, from either a shoulder-ﬁred are planning to receive from Agustawestland starting in 2011.
missile or a minor caliber cannon burst. The right wing tank The HIDAS has already been installed on the British Army’s
exploded after the hit, and the aircraft almost immediately WAH-64 Apaches, the RAF’s EH101 Mark 3 Merlins, and the
plunged into the ground. Since then, the RAF has made plans to Royal Navy’s Sea King Mark 4 support helicopters. While the
retroﬁt all 44 of its remaining Hercules aircraft with explosion- details are not clear, each HIDAS installation will cost several
suppressing foam in the fuel tanks by the end of this year. hundred thousand pounds.
However, it is only strongly suspected that the aircraft was
brought down by a missile—it was ﬂying so low that a good
shot from a rocket propelled grenade or even a machinegun
may have done the trick. Against such basic threats to low-ﬂying
aircraft, there are no overwhelming material solutions.
As with the Lynx that was lost over Basra, there is only so
much that can be done against minor caliber cannons at low
altitude. Fortunately, the Ministry seems to be doing much of
what can be done.
A Nimrod MR2 (XV254) taxis for takeoff at the Royal International
Air Tattoo in Fairford in July 2006. Photograph by Adrian Pingstone
JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 12
Replacing Land Rovers with more bullet-, blast-, and the new production of 100 blast-resistant Mastiff Protected
crash-resistant vehicles. Patrol Vehicles (PPVs) from Force Protection Industries.The PPV
is a version of the 6x6 Cougar troop carrier already in service
Armoring the troops is an appropriately pressing priority for the with the US Army and Marine Corps.
Ministry of Defense. Under new management—speciﬁcally, Lord
Drayson, the rather energetic new procurement minister—the That said, the ministry considers these armored dogs of war an
ministry recently contracted for the remanufacturing of 100 up- interim step in advance of the Army’s pending Future Rapid
armored FV430 Bulldog troop carriers from BAE Systems, and Effects System (FRES). FRES’s development had suffered from
slow-going akin to that of the US Army’s Future Combat System
(FCS). To wit, the Defence Committee of the House of
Commons recently criticized the Ministry of Defence for what
it called years of indecision in ﬁrst the Tactical Reconnaissance
Armoured Combat Equipment (TRACER) program, then the
Multi Role Armoured Vehicle (MRAV) program, and now the
Nine years on from the Strategic Defence Review, the Army's re-
quirement for a medium-weight vehicle remains unmet. Despite
having spent £188 million on the TRACER and MRAV programmes
and at least £120 million so far on FRES, the solution is nothing
more tangible than a concept.
The trouble is the laws of physics have intruded on what both
the British Army and the US Army can hope to accomplish with
a new vehicle. Devising a vehicle that is fast, survivable, fuel
efﬁcient, voluminous, and still light enough to be carried on a
transport aircraft has proven elusive. In short, the services want
a pony, but they are not likely to get one.
The new Mastiff Protected Patrol Vehicle being demonstrated on the
Still the Committee’s criticism is rather backward-looking. Lord
Salisbury Plain. Photograph by Andrew Linett, courtesy of the MoD.
Drayson has also determined that the ﬁrst phase of the FRES
program would not be yet another attempt to develop a vehicle
JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 13
from scratch, but would rather be a standing-start competition
with whatever ready vehicle interested parties could bring by
2008. Likely contenders for the contract include
✦ General Dynamics, which will probably bring a Piranha IV or V
extension of the ubiquitous line of MOWAG Light Armored
Vehicles (LAV). The largest customer to date has been the US
Army, has been buying a version of the LAV (Piranha)-III as
✦ Patria Vehicles, which will bring its Armored Modular Vehicle,
or Xa-360, which has recently gained large orders in Finland,
Poland, Slovenia, and South Africa.
✦ Nexter, which will offer its Véhicule Blindé de Combat
d’Infanterie. The company has just begun serial production of a
700-unit order of VBCIs for the French Army.
A VBCI undergoing trials in July 2005. Photograph by Daniel Steger
✦ FIAT-Iveco, which will offer a troop carrier version of the 8x8 —————————————————————————
Centauro assault gun, which is basically a wheeled tank with a
105 mm cannon. At this stage, the real question is how FRES could improve on
the capabilities being procured in the Bulldog and Mastiff
✦ ARTEC, a consortium of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), purchases. There are a few
Rheinmetall Landsysteme, and Stork PWV; which will offer
the Boxer—the result of the MRAV program from which the ✦ Maintainability. The Bulldogs will be thoroughly reset, but
British MoD withdrew in 2003 they remain forty-year-old vehicles, so the Army may not get
another forty years from them.
✦ BAE Systems, which will offer an 8x8 version of the
Spitterkyddad Enhets Platform (SEP), which is being developed ✦ Firepower. the FRES utility vehicles may only carry overhead
by its subsidiary Hägglunds in Sweden. This vehicle is arguably remote-controlled machineguns. which the Bulldogs and
the least mature, as it was only shown for the ﬁrst time in Mastiffs are entirely capable of mounting. Only later
Britain in February 2007. reconnaissance and ﬁghting vehicle types (which may be of a
JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 14
different design) will carry cannons and anti-tank missile That said, if RPGs continue their relative resurgence as a
launchers. problem, as they seemingly have in Afghanistan, interest may
grow in protecting vehicles against them. As seen on the front
✦ Mobility. As 8x8s, they will probably prove more agile off-road cover, the Bulldogs are already sporting explosive-reactive tiles
than the commercially-derived Mastiffs, and more efﬁcient and and slat armor to deﬂect RPGs.
comfortable than the tracked Bulldogs.
This suggests a potentially important middle space in the
✦ Protection. Here the answer is not obvious. The FRES utility armored vehicles market: a vehicle with the blast-protection
vehicles may offer more armor, but ballistic protection beyond and commercial maintainability of the Cougar or RG-33, but the
that required to stop a 14.5 mm machinegun round at close off-road mobility and shaped-charge-protection of a purpose-
range may be overkill. Insurgents don’t carry 25 mm cannons built 8x8. Given the tension amongst all the competing
in their backpacks, and the ﬁghting vehicles that do are better engineering factors in ground vehicle design, that may yet prove
engaged at long range with anti-tank missiles. to be a pony.
The obvious lacuna
Doing something about the quarter of British fatalities caused by small arms ﬁre is proving difﬁcult.
The Ministry is indeed trying, and to considerable extent, it is Afghanistsan and Iraq had totaled 120. Thus, given the following
now spending money on the logical priorities. In July 2006, Lord broad estimates:
Drayson remarked that spending on ‘urgent operational
requirements’ related to combat in Afghanistan and Iraq had thus
far totaled £527 million. * This has included £181 million on
aircraft protection, £199 million on electronic countermeasures
(ECM), and £147 million for new armored vehicles and body
armor. Through the end of that month, British fatalities in
Ministry of Defence press release, New Protected Patrol Vehicles for Iraq and Afghanistan put through their paces, 14 September 2006
JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 15
✦ Each fatality costs £0.5 in death beneﬁts, recruiting costs, and Indeed, it can be argued that some of the investment is found in
retraining costs, areas that seemingly have nothing to do with small arms. In
January 2007, two Royal Marines were killed in Helmand
✦ Each fatality is accompanied by 3.4 severe traumas,each Province in circumstances that, by the ofﬁcial Ministry of
costing roughly £1.5 million in insurance payouts, net present Defence announcements, may be considered a bit old-fashioned:
lifetime healthcare costs, recruiting costs, and retraining costs *
✦ Lance Corporal Matthew Ford, 45 Commando, on 15
We can suggest that the Ministry has invested January 2007, while “assaulting a walled compound”
£1.4 in serious casualty avoidance for every £1 that it has ✦ Marine Thomas Curry, 42 Commando, on 13 January 2007,
incurred in the taking those casualties in the war (not while “in the process of clearing an enemy compound”
counting aircraft replacement costs), or
Whilst the details of the battles are not apparent from the
£4.4 million per fatality already suffered announcements, two things can be observed: walled compounds
are excellent candidates for destruction with precision-guided
If fatalities are not expected to rise signiﬁcantly in the future, this bombs, and the RAF’s Harrier force has been criticized for
seems neither ﬁnancially imprudent nor particularly shortcomings in its close air support capability. This is nothing
parsimonious. new: one Harriers have twice been lost in part because they
have long lacked good targeting systems:
That said, losses to small arms ﬁre may prove the most difﬁcult to
prevent. Forty-three deaths in the ﬁrst ﬁve years of ﬁghting have ✦ Squadron Leader Bob Iveson of 1 Squadron was shot down
been caused by small arms, but to some degree, this may be a by an Argentine anti-aircraft cannon on his third pass over a
regrettable part of the business of being a foot soldier. Bullets ﬂy target at Goose Green on 27 May 1982
on battleﬁelds, and no amount of body armor will stop every
round. Indeed, the new Osprey and Kestrel body armor sets that ✦ Lieutenant Nick Richardson of 801 Squadron was shot
the Ministry has ordered to improve soldiers’ chances of down by Serbian heat-seeking missile on 16 April 1994 on
surviving bullets and blasts have been criticized as being too bulky his ﬁfth pass at a T-55 tank that he couldn’t quite line up in
and heavy to effectively use in combat. his sights.
See James Hasik, Professional Grade: a working paper on recent fatalities in military vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan (rev. 3.1), 31 October 2006; Scott Wallsten &
Katrina Kosec, The Economic Costs of the War, American Enterprise Institute, September 2005; Joseph Stiglitz & Linda Bilmes, The Economic Costs of the Iraq War: an
Appraisal Three Years after the Beginning of the Conﬂict, January 2006
JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 16
Both pilots survived and avoided capture, but that’s insufﬁcient
consolation alone: the aircraft were lost, and their targets
Twenty-four years is a long time to wait to correct a problem,
particularly as US aircraft had LITENING targeting pods in time
for the 1991 campaign in Iraq. Here again, though, the Ministry
has taken action. In response to a UOR request from front-line
RAF commanders in late 2006, the MoD contracted quickly with
Lockheed Martin for its new Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod. The
ﬁrst ﬂight with a Sniper ATP on a new Harrier GR9 took just
sixty days; the ﬁrst operational deployment is scheduled for July
2007. An RAF Harrier GR7 hovers at the 2006 Farnborough Air Show.
Photograph courtesy of John Mullen
So, while it’s unlikely that every walled compound can be blasted —————————————————————————
by a waiting Harrier jet, the Ministry is taking action.
The British experience and future material solutions
The operational demands of ﬁghting in Afghanistan and Iraq point towards two obvious markets—armored vehicles and
transport rotorcraft—and both are showing vigorous growth.
While the demands of the counterinsurgencies and peace operational challenges of companies from Bell Helicopter to Force
enforcement operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere have Protection Industries indicate, the biggest problem in the
opened a host of markets for military suppliers—from catamaran helicopter and armored vehicle industries today is ﬁguring out
naval transports to drone attack aircraft—two stand out as how to build all the stuff that has been ordered. This is a high-class
particularly relevant to limiting fatalities on the battleﬁeld. As the problem to have, but it also points to the the opportunities for any
JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 17
company—whether in the business currently or not—that can
deliver a better and cheaper blast-protected vehicle or rotorcraft
Armored vehicles: it’s all about blast.
Money is ﬂowing into blast-protection, and not just in Britain. The
just-starting Mine Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicle
program of the US Marine Corps is planned to encompass over
4,000 vehicles at roughly $500,000 each—a $2 billion program. Just
as signiﬁcant, ﬁve different initial awards have already been made in
$55.4 MM for 90 RG-33s from BAE Systems
$67.4 MM for 125 Cougars from Force Dynamics, the joint
venture of Force Protection and General Dynamics
A convoy of American blast-protected vehicles—RG-31, Buffalo, and
$37.4 MM for 60 Golans from Protected Vehicles, the start-up by
Cougar—sorties from its base. Photograph by Lieutenant Colonel
Force Protection founder Colonel Garth Barrett
Erik Peterson, 12th Marine Regiment
$30.6 MM for 100 Bushmasters from Oshkosh, which is licensing
the design from Thales-Australia
RG-31s from BAE Systems and General Dynamics (its North
$11.0 MM for 20 RG-31s from General Dynamics, or BAE American licensee).
indirectly (GD holds the license in North America)
While MRAP is the largest program to date, it doesn’t begin to
These awards, of course, come in addition to the more than 300 cover the full scope of purchasing worldwide. The Swedish Army is
Cougar and Buffalo armored vehicles that the US Army and Marine buying RG-31s; the Bundeswehr Dingos; the Swiss Army Eagles;
Corps have purchased from Force Protection, and theand 200 or so and the list goes on. Even still, blast-protected vehicle purchases
JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 18
Past and Projected Sales of Blast-Protected Military Vehicles Worldwide, 2002–2012
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
should continue to rise over the next ﬁve years worldwide, as more
military land forces supplement their tracked vehicle ﬂeets with ve- This also means that the long list of eager suppliers to the market
hicles more suitable for counterinsurgency and constabulary work. will not quickly shorten. The market for blast-protection is still be-
My forecast (compiled from press releases, contract announce- ing contested by at least two competing concepts: steel, v-shaped
ments, and probably emergent requirements, and shown in the ad- hulls (the approach taken by most ﬁrms) and ﬂexible composite
joining chart) suggests a market worth nearly $2 billion annually by ﬂoors (KMW’s approach with the Dingo). While Force Protection’s
2012. The surge in 2008 represents emergency purchases in the US Cougar and BAE’s RG-series are the leading products, the market
and the UK, but this spending will not consume future market op- has only recent surged again after the ﬂurry of activity in South
portunities. Peace-enforcement and counter-insurgency campaigns Africa tapered off with the change of government in the late
are, after all, the more likely types of contingency in which Western 1980s. This means that technological advances may yet shift the
and allied military forces may ﬁnd themselves embroiled in the near industry’s design paradigm, and that, in turn, should continue to
future. If preparations for the big war in the Fulda Gap were once attract investment from interested suppliers and defense minis-
the dominant considerations in NATOn defense ministries, this time tries.
is probably passing. The British (and allied) experience in Afghanistan
and Iraq indicate how and why.
JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 19
Rotorcraft: high, hot, heavy-lift—and hardened. sweep up what remainders it can—even amongst the armed
forces of friendly states like Nicaragua—indicate how seriously the
Waging war in the Hindu Kush has required big, multi-engined air- problem is being taken.
craft that can lift entire platoons at a time to nauseating heights. This
has thus meant a bonanza for Boeing, through its H-47 Chinook If we accept as roughly accurate
program, and Sikorsky, with the continuation of its Super Stallion
program with the fully redesigned CH-53K. Across Europe, smaller, ✦ the most recent annual estimate by Rols-Royce and the Teal
shorter-ranged machines are being replaced with NH-90s, Agustaw- Group: 600 new military helicopters annually, worldwide, for
estland EH-101s, and Eurocopter Cougars. the near future, and
However, if RPGs and roadside bombs can kill soldiers one or two ✦ the assumption that most of those helicopters will be
or a few more at a time, shoulder-ﬁred heat-seeking missiles can kill equipped with relatively sophisticated defensive aides, costing
them by the dozen or more. Indeed, as the average size of battleﬁeld roughly one million dollars each
helicopter is growing larger to accommodate larger loads to greater
distances, the potential for larger loss of life increases. Concentra- the annual worldwide market is seen to comprise several hundred
tion of more soldiers on single aircraft thus increases the attractive- million dollars.
ness of equipping the ﬂeets with more robust missile defenses.
While many of the stocks liberally scattered around the world by
the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1980s are no longer
serviceable, the continuing efforts by the US federal government to
JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 20
About the Author
James Hasik holds an MBA from the University of Chicago in
ﬁnance and business economics, and a BA from Duke University in
history and physics. He is a member of the Institute of Navigation,
a member of the Council for Emerging National Security Affairs,
and Senior Defense Consultant to CRA International.
On the cover
An up-armored FV432 Bulldog from BAE Systems
undergoes trials with the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment
in Iraq in December 2006.
JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 21