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By Julian Nettlefold

24 Sep 08. Given the shirt time available from UOR Day to Press Day, we were unable to cover every aspect of the UOR Day last week. Herewith we give more details. (See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.10 ISSUE 37, 19 Sep 2008, POWERFUL DEOMONSTRATION OF UOR EQUIPMENT).

History suggests that a combination of a war on two fronts and a tight Defence Budget requires a major rethink by the MoD and the Armed Forces alike to create a balance between protecting troops on the ground by providing the best equipment in the fastest time and balancing the books at the same time in order to keep mainstream procurements active. The arrival of 24/7 news coverage on the battlefield also brings any breakdown in this process directly into the living rooms of the general public and the families of those soldiers on the ground. Thus, given this technology, MoDs have to react quickly to bring new equipments into theatre using innovative procurement techniques – the Urgent Operational requirement (UOR) being the benchmark.

“We are fighting a battle today which changes the way we do business, we have to deliver the capability required faster and more efficiently. We are de-risking operations so we are not tactically surprised.” Major General Bill Moore CBE DG Logistics, Support and Equipment, Land Command said.

Today’s conflicts require vehicles to fight through the enemy and survive. This has meant a complete rethink on the protection levels given to the logistic fleet in particualr. These vehicles, their crew and their cargoes must now survive any engagement and survive the battlefield. Thus the MoD has to provide proper armoured protection to vehicles down to the light fleet. These protection packages must be flexible in their application and be taken off when not in use. Thus all our vehicles will be fitted for not with armour protection which can be increased given the threat

“We now have 11,000 soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan fighting what is Asymetric warfare. The current Operational Environment and threat levels have changed completely, thus we must evolve our equipments to meet this threat, particularly from the IED, intimidation and assassination. Not only has the threat changed but we are now working in very harsh combat environments, dust in particular, which require the constant change of equipment usage and sustaining campaigns for the long term. The particular threat is to lines of communications. Our risk in theatre is defined as 30% physical, 60% tactical and 10% good fortune. We need to minimise encounters and make good use of intelligence as the enemy is, he is adapting all the time.” Brigadier James Everard CBE, Director Commitments, HQ Land Forces said.

He then went on to outline current Threat Implications and the new Force Protection Capabilities required to meet these:

1. Ability to counter small arms/IDF
2. Self defence capability
3. Counter IED threats
4. Enhanced C2 capability
5. Counter RPG threat
6. Enhanced durability and mobility to meet demanding terrains
7. 24/7 operation capability

As well as vehicles military infrastructure is also meeting a new threat not only from attack but also the environment and also changing usage of infrastructure support. The Army has had to add protection to our bases, airfields and logistic supply centres to protect them from mortar and RPG threat in particular. In addition the Army is using more civilian logistic loading and container handling equipment.

To meet these changes the Armed Forces had to develop new Expeditionary Force tactics:

1. To enable forces to redeploy rapidly within theatre
2. To deploy/re-deploy between theatres
3. Building Forward Operating Bases

Brigadier Chris Deverell said that there had been £1 billion in UORs for Ground manoeuvre equipment from a total of £4 billion. The UOR process starts with an equipment request to Northwood

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