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By Julian Bryan, Head of Military Strategies Millbrook

21 Mar 13. Julian Bryan, head of military strategies at Millbrook comments on the increasing need for military vehicles to be capable, reliable and available as cutbacks continue to affect the defence sector.

As cuts in military budgets continue, it’s clear that measurable financial savings have been made in many engineering teams within the defence sector. However, as project managers emerge in the place of engineers the knowledge and experience needed to get under the skin of the military’s requirements is becoming increasingly important to the future of land vehicles on the front line.

For specialist vehicle manufacturers the aim should be simple – sell quality vehicles that are sustainable, in this sector it appears not to be quite that straight forward. The military needs impartial judgement to assess the suitability of land vehicles deployed, so it’s crucial that any advice they are given is objective to ensure that only the most capable and reliable vehicles are delivered.

Capability and reliability go hand in hand; there is no point in a vehicle being capable if it breaks after five minutes, it must be reliable too. And reliability needs to be built-in during vehicle development; it’s not something that can be added as an after-thought. The reality is that no planes will fly and no ships will sail without reliable vehicles on the ground.

The next crucial element is vehicle availability. We cannot use availability as an opt-out for not having reliable vehicles. It’s like someone walking around the supermarket pushing a trolley and their partner following them around with another trolley just in case a wheel falls off.

Expert industry advice should be provided by third parties, who have the skills and experience to support military personnel in all areas of defence vehicle engineering, testing equipment to exhaustive, repeatable standards and solving engineering problems that reflect the changing needs of the military. Most importantly we need to be very careful about the quality of advice to ensure there is no commercial conflict and that all advice remains impartial and open.

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