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By Julian Nettlefold

22 Jun 11. British Army Warrior vehicles in Afghanistan are now better protected and more mobile thanks to a fast-paced major package of upgrades developed and delivered by BAE Systems. More than 70 of the infantry fighting vehicles have received a £30m upgrade following a series of orders placed with BAE Systems by the UK Ministry of Defence. Further upgrade kits have also been supplied. BAE Systems has previously developed and produced over 70 UOR (Urgent Operational Requirement) modifications for Warrior to prepare them for operations in Kosovo, Iraq and now Afghanistan. These were designed mainly to enhance protection to the vehicle crews in the face of rapidly-changing threats and to better meet harsh local environmental conditions. Approximately 30 new upgrades, known as TES(H) (Theatre Entry Standard – Herrick), have now been designed, developed, manufactured and fitted onto Warrior vehicles. Their primary aims were to further improve crew protection and restore vehicle mobility that had been reduced as a result of increases in vehicle weight from under 30 to around 40 tonnes. TES(H) was developed, tested and managed by the Vehicles Readiness & Sustainment team at BAE Systems’ Telford site. BAE Systems co-ordinated fitting the new parts at the nearby DSG (Defence Support Group), Donnington facility. All vehicles have now been delivered for use in training and on operations. The roll-call of British sub-contractors on the programme includes Allen Vanguard (Tewkesbury), Astrum, Remown (both Co Durham), Caterpillar Defence Products (Shrewsbury), Dana Spicer (Birmingham), GKN Driveline (Telford), Icon Plymer (Nottingham), MTL (Rotherham) Thales Optronics (Glasgow), Thyssen Krupp (Birmingham), Tinsley Bridge (Sheffield) and W A Lewis (Shrewsbury).

Lt. Col Tony Marinos of Headquarters Infantry said: “With the dynamic nature of operations in Afghanistan, partnered, timely approaches such as this project, which quickly take on board lessons learned from the front line, can give our troops the fine-tuned equipment they need to do their jobs as safely and effectively as possible.”

BAE Systems’ business lead for Warrior David Jones commented: “The fast pace on TES(H) has been made possible by our knowledge of Warrior and painstaking planning between DE&S, DSG, ourselves and our supply network to ensure that these vehicles were ready for the front line as quickly as possible.”

TES(H) includes:

* A modular armour system to allow quick and easy fitment of “mix and match” armour packages to meet changing threats. Many of these packages have been developed under previous UORs

* Enhanced seating and armour to further improve mine protection.

* Uprated suspension and ride height to restore cross-country mobility.

* Lower lower-ratio final drive to increase low-speed mobility and climbing performance

* Motorsport derived carbon-fibre brakes, providing significantly reduced stopping distance.

* In addition, more than a dozen UORs developed specifically for Afghanistan have been fitted.

General praises life-saving Warrior upgrade

A British Army Warrior fitted with the latest protection and mobility upgrade saved the lives of its crew when it was hit by a roadside bomb big enough to knock the 40-tonne vehicle over.

Jim Graham led the Telford-based Warrior upgrade programme before being posted to Afghanistan where, as a Captain in the Territorial Army, he serves as liaison officer to the 2nd US Marine Division.

While there he met Lt Gen Barney White-Spunner, the Commander of the British Field Army, who told him: “The new [TES(H)] protection undoubtedly saved the lives of the crew in the recent incident. Please pass on my thanks, and that of the commander and soldiers of 3 Mercian, to all involved in the project.”

Lance Corporal Ryder, who is serving in Helmand Province with 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment,

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