Gordon Brown promised the much-needed Warthogs would be on frontline duty with the Royal Dragoon Guards in Helmand Province by April.
But the all-terrain vehicles failed blast tests. Nine were blown up at the Armoured Trials and Development Unit at Bovington in Dorset. Experts decided the troop carriers needed an extra two tons of armour.
The MoD says the Warthogs are now 'operationally fit' and pass all tests required. The first of the vehicles will be in Afghanistan by September
The MoD says the Warthogs are now ‘operationally fit’ and pass all tests required. The first of the vehicles will be in Afghanistan by September.
The last Government ordered 115 Warthogs two years ago from Singapore Technologies Kinetics in a £150 million deal, part of an Urgent Operational Requirement, when Treasury money is secured for new threats.
They replace the much-criticised, lighter Viking vehicles, which are vulnerable to the Taliban’s improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The 12-ton Viking Mark I vehicles are being withdrawn from service in Afghanistan after almost a quarter of the 108 there were blown up. A further 27 are too damaged to return to the front line.
Among nine British servicemen killed by bombs while in Vikings was Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, commanding officer of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards. He was the most senior British Army officer to die on the front line since the Falklands War.