Dear all

As a long time lurker, I wanted to pose a first-time question to some in the community. I recognise that this may be a little bit more tech-centric than normal topics of discussion, but as so many here have spent time in the field I wanted to gain some perspective on this subject.

I shared a drink with a US Army vehicle programme manager recently and he was readily lammenting the catastrophic waste of tax dollars on vehicle "protection" solutions that actually did little or nothing for survivability. Vendors make countless solutions available to the military, but very few of them actually offer much by way of protection against soldier. Citing a recent trip to Bagram, he was stunned by the sheer volume of MRAPs lined up in rows, all awaiting deployment where they'll replace the vehicles that are being wrecked every day. Soldiers' lives are being saved in some cases, but the suggestion was, not at the rate that the investment these supposed improvements was meant to deliver.

The logistics of managing multiple protection upgrades in theatre is, allegedly, a mess. Armour packages are delivered to FOBs, ready to be bolted onto to vehicles that no longer exist at said location. They've been destroyed or moved elsewhere. When the right protection upgrade, for the right vehicle arrives, the guys on the ground have no idea how to fit it.

On top of that, a huge number of new vehicles are being purchased, despite their complete unsuitability for combat in theatre. This is simply down to the power of lobbying interests in the US and the need to protect jobs/profit lines/political donor relationships.

A pessimistic view perhaps. Does this match up to experience in reality. I'm not on a witch hunt against armour/protection suppliers. But I am curious if we've got our approach to "survivability" all wrong?

Grateful for your thoughts.