New vehicles designed to help protect British forces in Iraq and Afghanistan were demonstrated on Salisbury Plain on 13 September 2006.
The Minister for Defence Procurement, Lord Drayson, said the Cougar and Vector vehicles were a significant step forward in helping troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to carry out their tasks more safely.
"We are one hundred per cent committed to giving our troops what they need," he said.
"Within force protection there is no perfect solution, it is a high risk business, but these vehicles are really excellent and will offer increased protection."
Vector provides good protection and, importantly, increased mobility and capacity compared to Snatch Landrovers which makes it very suitable for the rugged terrain and long patrol distances in Afghanistan. It is expected that deliveries of Vector will begin early in 2007.
The Mastiff PPV (a variant of the US Cougar) meets the requirement for a well protected, wheeled patrol vehicle with a less intimidating profile than tracked vehicles like Warrior or FV430.
The vehicles will be customised with essential Bowman radios and electronic counter-measures Ц and then fitted with additional armour beyond the standard level, to ensure they have the best possible protection. They are expected to arrive in Iraq by the end of 2006.
Before the recent announcement of new vehicles, the Ministry of Defence had already spent over £527m on Urgent Operational Requirements for Iraq and Afghanistan designed to improve force protection. This is in addition to the planned £6bn annual defence procurement budget.