£160m to fight road bombs
The Ministry of Defence is to spend £160m on combating the roadside bombs and mines which have claimed the lives of hundreds of British and American servicemen in the Afghan war.
The programme, which will include a specialist centre devoted to the analysis of intelligence and surveillance material, is due to be announced by the Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth, in the Commons tomorrow.
IEDs (improvised explosive devices) have been responsible for more than 85% of recent deaths and injuries suffered by UK and allied forces.
British troops are receiving the Talisman mine-clearing vehicles and Dragon Runner robots, which can be carried by troops in their backpacks and, it is claimed, can climb stairs and open doors to detect bombs and booby traps. A hundred British troops have been killed in Afghanistan this year, fuelling growing opposition to the war at home.