Soldiers had best vehicles available - Govt
Wed, 22 Aug 2012 6:19p.m.
By Patrick Gower
Corporal Luke Tamatea, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker and Private Richard Harris have begun their final journey home.
Their coffins were flown out of Afghanistan overnight on board a Royal Australian Air Force transport.
Their deaths have raised questions about why our troops don't have the same mine-resistant vehicles as other forces in Afghanistan.
Their coffins were carried away from Afghanistan in Humvees - the very type of vehicle in which they were killed, hit by a roadside bomb.
They never had a chance.
"We're confident they have the best equipment available to them," says Prime Minister John Key.
Kiwis patrol in either the armoured Humvees or LAVs . Yet with improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, an ever-present threat in Afghanistan, all our major allies - including the Australians - use M-RAPs - Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles.
The difference is Humvees and LAVs have flat under-sides, which take the full force of the blast, while the M-RAPs are V-shaped for mine resistance, which deflects the lethal energy.
The Government and chief of the Defence Force Lt Gen Rhys Jones argue that M-RAPs are not suitable in Bamiyan, and would have been taken out by the bomb anyway.
"I'm not a technical expert, I'm just a politician, and [Lt Gen Jones] believes no vehicle would have survived that explosion," says Mr Key.
But a group of current and former soldiers are disputing this online, with one Afghanistan vet saying: "Don't go trying to divert the media's question by saying that tougher armoured vehicles would have been KO-ed too, because I call bullshit on that statement."
The Defence Force revealed today the three dead soldiers whose bodies were farewelled last night fought honourably two weeks ago in what's now being called the 'Battle of Baghak', where L/Cpls Rory Malone and Pralli Durrer were killed.
And it turns out New Zealand army discussions with the US about the use of M-RAPs after Lt Tim O'Donnell was killed by an IED two years ago went nowhere. We turned down an offer of older MRAP versions while newer ones were in use.
"They weren't actually available at the time," says Mr Key.
The Taliban bombmaker believed to be behind the fatal blast is still at large in and around Bamiyan, but the Government and Defence Force say there is no need for added protection before troops are withdrawn in April.
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23/08/2012 2:24:52 p.m.
Wil Wright wrote:
Without a doubt the CDF is lying, I was in the the British Airborne forces for 12 years before just ending my 3 year 'eye opening' stint with the NZDF and I can catergorically say that the vehicles and equipment of the Defence Force are equal, if not below the standard of a third world country! when I tranfered over and on day one was issued my 'vietnam style' tin helmet (which was only withdrawn 2 years ago)I braced myself for outdated training and equipment, I wasn't disappointed! The 'lads on the ground' aren't stupid, they only have to see Brits and Americans in Youtube 'Helmet cam' footage, to see that they're about 20 years behind the times, yet 'those up top' refuse to adapt, either due to the much reduced budget (due to anual cuts/or wastage on poorly advised purchases) or 'tall poppy syndrome' resulting in the old and bold closing ranks and not listening to lateral recruits from war fighting countries, who without a doubt have learnt the hard way what does/does not work in a war zone, whether that be equipment (from vehicles - PPE - weapons) or to tactics and training. A blind feotus could see how inappropriate NZDF vehicle choices in Afghanistan have been, as to send soldiers out in flat bottomed 'armoured coffins' is outrageous and to say that IED resistant vehicles couldn't be driven in Baymiyan due to the rough terrain is laughable, as I can assure you that Helmund Province is just as bad, if not drastically worse terrain! They should just come out and say, SORRY, it all comes down to money, and the 'proactive' outlay to protect our guys and to keep them on an even keel with the Brits/Americans and Aussies, is far too expensive, yet to be 'reactive' and to fork out for a handfull of military funerals, is by far the more cost effect answer. sad but true.
23/08/2012 10:58:13 a.m.
Yeah - lets throw another Billion dollars at a pointless war that we should not be involved in! Hey we can sell 100% of all our assetts to fund it! OR why not let all the Afghans come live here in NZ - it would be a cheaper option!
23/08/2012 9:44:35 a.m.
the hummers that are used over there are an awesome vehicle and from experience we felt safe in them when i was there and went over for about 7 and a half months... if you aint been there you shouldn't comment because what Rhys Jones is saying is true they are the only vehicles that can manovure around on those roads easily.....the MRAPS and other vehicles are way to big to fit on the road in some parts of bamiyan especially up north in do abe where my brothers and sister got killed and if there were those types of vehicles and the locals seen that or taliban seen it they would click on to that and more people would die.... but all i say is if you dont know what it is like over there then personlly just shut up
22/08/2012 10:55:07 p.m.
If I win Lotto or Big Wednesday I promise I will buy our troops over there a MRAP - thats because I am a decent Kiwi and human being - unlike our politicians!
22/08/2012 9:25:13 p.m.
Cecil Poa wrote:
Lets get them home, honour them and them comment if needed. Allow them to retain their mana.
There being honoured by the military community is important including us veterans from earlier conflicts who waited 40 years
22/08/2012 9:24:51 p.m.
Jeremy Fletcher wrote:
Lets be honest here, our troops shouldnt be over there helping out unless they have the up to date vehicles like the US and Australian vehicles! Thats all it comes down to. Theres a reason theyre using the latest vehicles! We are always behind in military tech even though we are out there with the rest of the coalition doing our bit! Political excuses...
22/08/2012 8:50:19 p.m.
The New Zealand government bought 105 LAVs which are only good for limited use in conventional warfare on open flat ground. As Syria shows, large armoured vehicles have limited survivability in street fighting. And, as said above, LAVs can't survive IEDs that feature in todays unconventional warfare. They are useless. Whoever reccomended buying 105 LAVs and whoever approved the purchase should be rotting in jail for incompetence or corruption causing the deaths of New Zealand soldiers.Perhaps it's time the public got together and bought MRAPs like the Oshkosh one pictured, for the troops.As a former M113 APC driver in the NZDF I find it unconscionable that the government is continuing to send troops in to battle improperly equiped and then lying about the survivability of MRAPs..
22/08/2012 8:04:56 p.m.
The Americans probably said buy you own vehicles. Oh that's right we did but the Pinzgauers can't be used outside of NZ because they have a worst rep then the Humvee's. $100,000 for a Pinzgauers, $470,000+ for a Oshkosh M-ATV. And that clown Rhys Jones has never even been to Afgan.
22/08/2012 7:06:12 p.m.
M-Raps have been in use for around 18mths and there are better versions just starting to come on stream, none have been properly tested in the field yet.
22/08/2012 6:35:25 p.m.
The American vehicles are not the best available. The best are the South African vehicles that the M-RAP's are based on. We could easily have hired a few vehicles from South Africa.
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