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Last Updated: Monday, 2 October 2006, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
Concern over troops' equipment
As concern grows about heavy fighting in Afghanistan and mounting casualties in Iraq, File on 4 asks why British troops can't get the equipment they need.

British troops on patrol in Basra
File on 4, Tuesday 10th October at 20:00 BST

Allan Urry's report will investigate the system for defence procurement.

There has been growing concern that troops do not have the most up-to-date equipment and this could jeopardise their safety.

The MoD has regularly been criticised for desert-theatre equipment failings.

A pre-Iraq war deployment exposed shortcomings with soldiers' boots that melted in the heat, vehicle engines that overheated, and rifles that jammed.

More recently, MPs have raised serious concerns over the 'deficient' equipment used by British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and have called for urgent funding to procure replacement kit.

A report by the Commons defence select committee, published in August, raised questions about the British Army and Ministry of Defence's preparedness for combat.

It suggested that more cash be set aside to overcome problems.

The MPs on the select committee recently visited soldiers in Iraq.

They were concerned about the army's continued use of 'snatch' Land Rovers, which are equipped only with light armour and are vulnerable to roadside bombs.

The committee has said it is also concerned at the shortage of helicopters and the strain on both air and ground crew.

The committee chairman James Arbuthnot said he was "disturbed" by the situation he encountered in Iraq.



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