Page last updated at 15:51 GMT, Wednesday, 14 January 2009

More plating on armoured vehicles

Viking all-terrain armoured vehicle: Pic Royal Navy
Work to protect the Viking all-terrain vehicles should be completed by April

Vehicles used by Royal Marines serving in Afghanistan are to be modified to provide more protection against mines.

Six Viking all-terrain vehicles fitted with extra armour plating will be shipped out to Afghanistan on Thursday.

The announcement was made after an unlawful killing verdict at the inquest of a Royal Marine from 40 Commando who was killed in an explosion last year.

Cpl Damien "Dee" Mulvihill from Plymouth died on 20 February while on patrol in Helmand province.

'Enemy forces'

The 32-year-old was in the lead vehicle of a Viking convoy when it ran over a mine. He died instantly in the blast and another marine was injured.

Lt Col Andrew Teare of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers said six Vikings have already been modified, with extra armour plating fitted to the floor of the vehicles.

These will be shipped to Afghanistan on Thursday and a further 50 Vikings already there will have additional plating fitted over the next few months, Lt Col Teare added.

The inquest was told the mine which killed Cpl Mulvihill was probably triggered by a pressure switch because no guide wires were spotted and electronic countermeasures on board the Viking would have jammed any attempt to trigger it remotely.

Corporal Damian "Dee" Mulvihill (Pic: MoD)
Cpl Mulvihill was unlawfully killed on active service, the coroner said

Cpl Mulvihill joined the Royal Marines in 1998 and took part in deployments around the world, including operations in Sierra Leone and Northern Ireland.

His commanding office, Lt Col Stuart Birrell, said Cpl Mulvihill "epitomised the Commando spirit" and his death had been a "devastating blow".

Plymouth coroner Ian Arrow recorded a verdict of unlawful killing whilst on active service.

"I am satisfied the action of enemy forces caused Cpl Mulvihill's death and it was a deliberate and unlawful act," Mr Arrow said.

After the inquest the MoD announced the improvement programme on the Viking vehicles should be completed by April.

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