British armored vehicles in Afghanistan have faced a lot of criticism during their stay in operational combat in the southern parts of Afghanistan. The British started its operational duties in October of 2001 with US and UK forces disrupting and effectively ousting the Taliban government and Al Qaeda out of power and have mostly annexed the leadership to neighboring Pakistan. They have done this with manpower, intelligence, military aircraft, military armored vehicles, and a vast array of military assets. This page will detail all the military vehicles being used by British forces in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2013.
What vehicles are the British using in Afghanistan?
Armored Vehicles (Medium)
Warrior IFV. Manufactured in the 1980’s this vehicle has been serving in the British military for more over than 20 years. The vehicle is armed with a cannon which can fire 30mm rounds (RARDEN) such as APDS, HEI, HE and AP. The range of the cannon and the munitions is fetched at 4 k/m. Around 12 people have been killed in this vehicle as a result of improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan.
Scimitar (RECON) FV107. Manufactured in the 1970’s the vehicle is a recon based vehicle similar in size to the WMIK Land Rover. It has operated jointly with the Warrior IFV in Afghanistan however also operates in conjunction and independently.
Mastiff (AFV) & Ridgeback. The Mastiff AFV & Ridgeback (Armored Fighting Vehicle) are vehicles which are in current usage as of 2006 to combat the threat that ground mobile units faced in vehicles such as the WMIK Land Rover, the improvised explosive device (IED). Heavily armored, occupants of this vehicle have come out unscratched when the vehicle has been struck by bombs and shrapnel with the help of the vehicles v-shaped hulls. The vehicle itself has proven itself as capable as it is has not had a single death while its first operations in 2006 with UK forces. The Mastiff is a British variant of the US Cougar.
Wolfhound – First entered the grounds of Afghanistan in October 2010. The armored vehicle is heavily armored to counter threats such as IEDs and mines to which it has a v-shaped hull to deflect these types of explosives. This vehicle can be fitted with a 7.62 mm general purpose machine gun (GPMG) mounted on the roof with turret shield. The vehicle is far different from its Mastiff form as it has a flatbed section at the rear which can carry logistics equipment among other things.
Armored Vehicles (Light)
WMIK Land Rover. The WMIK (Weapons Mount Installation Kit) Land Rover is a heavily used vehicle by the British army and has been used as a primary “light” vehicle in operations in Afghanistan. The vehicle has been used in all types of operations in Afghanistan and has been extensively criticised for lack of protection and unreliability especially against improvised explosive devices. A combined 32 British army personnel have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in this vehicle. The vehicle currently is mostly used in a fire support role, where heavier vehicles such as the Warrior and Scimitar cannot reach.
Snatch Land Rover. Based on the Land Rover Defender, as is similar vehicles such as the WMIK Land Rover, the Snatch Land Rover has been heavily criticised for its use in Afghanistan and Iraq. However it still remains in use though the announcement to replace this vehicle with the Ocelot PPV vehicle which is a vehicle that has been designed for Afghanistan. Whereas the Snatch Land Rover was designed for conditions in Northern Ireland. At least 37 people combined from Iraq and Afghanistan have been killed in this vehicle during a tenure to which the vehicle hasn’t found a replacement up until recently; which led to the naming of vehicle as a “mobile coffin” by few UK troops. The vehicle has been used in Afghanistan for on-base duties, security and going out on patrols.
WMIK Jackal. The WMIK (Weapons Mount Installation Kit) Jackal was developed and designed in thought of the anti-insurgent and guerrilla warefare taking place in Afghanistan as well as being suited for the type of combat and terrain that battles take place. – In replacement to the WMIK Land Rover and its counterparts. It can be armed with a 50. calibre H2 browning machine gun or has the option to mount a 40mm automatic grenade launcher. (Mk.19) The vehicle while in Afghanistan since 2008 has had extensive updates in design creating the Jackal 2, a superior variant of the original vehicle. The vehicle has also operated within a small unit operating independently in unfriendly territory. There have been fatalities and causalities since the deployment of the Jackal.
Panther (CLV); Command Liaison Vehicle. Carrying a remote weapons system armed with a 7.62 mm L7 (GPMG/LMG) General Purpose machine-gun or light machine gun this vehicle was first sent to Afghanistan in May 2009. It has gone under the development of the “Theatre Entry Standard” (TES) to ensure the vehicles systems performs in Afghanistan while also adding specific additions to the vehicle itself. These include:
- protected engine compartment
- addition of the Bowman radio suite, located between the two back seats, reducing the occupant amount to four from five.
- rear view camera for improved situational awareness
- theatre-specific electronic counter-measures
Of the 400 Panther CLV ordered most are being converted top the Theatre Entry Standard (TES).
Husky (TSV). A Tactical Support Vehicle (TSV) is a vehicle which is a “go anywhere” vehicle as it can act as supply, fire support and can go over almost all terrain. The vehicle is able to carry 1-tonnes worth of supplies. Used by the Scots Guard in Afghanistan, it entered the war torn country in December 2010.
Viking (BvS 10). Used in Afghanistan in 2006 the Viking (BvS 10) utilized by the Royal Marines in Helmand Province originally of which 33 units of the Viking were sent. They were vulnerable to IEDs however fitted with slat armor. Though because of their low pressure to the ground, they would not set off anti-tank mines. There was also one occurrence where an RPG had hit the fuel guage of the back of one of the Viking armored vehicles which set fire and burnt out the vehicle. The Viking has been withdrawn from Afghanistan in favour of the ST Kinetics WARTHOG.
ST Kinetics WARTHOG/BRONCO. Similar to the VIKING (BVS 10) there are two cabins with the WARTHOG armored vehicle. The front cabin has a turret attached which can be fitted with a 50. caliber machine gun or 40mm grenade launcher. The front cabin is also where the driver is seated along with commander. The rear cabin houses the infantry which is what makes this vehicle suitable for the environment it operates as it is tracked and moves over any terrain including water. It has been operating in Afghanistan since December 8th 2010; replacing the Viking, and is seen by the forces as a much needed improvement.
JCB High Mobility Engineer Excavator (HMEE) used to fill HESCO barriers with sand among other tasks. The vehicle can be fitted with applique armor where required protecting the cabin where the driver is situated as well as having an RPG cage fitted. The vehicle has been used in Afghanistan for route clearing, route creation, road fixes bridge repairs and on-base duties.
“The HMEE is an armored JCB with incredible maneuverability which is used to repair any damage caused by IED blasts. It can smash through wadis (rivers), fill holes and move debris to allow combat logistic patrols to pass through.” – Source.
NOTE:* There are other vehicles also operating in Afghanistan for the British army that are not included in this article.
“The Warrior and Scimitar armored vehicles have been operating since Operation Herrick, the British named operation in Afghanistan.”
Why has the British Army or Ministry of Defence not sent tanks to Afghanistan?
Other nations such as Canada, Denmark and recently the United States have deployed tanks in Afghanistan. Why haven’t the British? The British army operates under the conclusion to win the hearts and minds of locals and they see that by sending tanks sends the wrong message to the Afghan population & locals. However recently the British army have discussed the idea of sending 16 Challenger 2 tanks to Afghanistan in the role of supporting troops on the ground. It is suggested by officials that these heavily armoured tanks could plough through suspected IED hot spots and blow holes where the Taliban are hiding armed with its powerful 120 mm HESH rounds. The decision now by the British army has been prompted with the USMC (United States Marine Corps) deploying a variant of the USMC’s M1 Abram.
Dec. 20th, 2010 – A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “There are no plans to send additional tanks. Armour support is available from allied troops.”
Future UK armored vehicles destined for Afghanistan
Sept. 26th, 2010 – The Force Protection Ocelot (LPPV) was announced to replace the Snatch Land Rover. Around 400 of these vehicles have been created. It is stated by the Ministry of Defence that the vehicle will come into service by 2011 with no exact date given
. The service name for this vehicle is “Foxhound“. It should replace the Snatch Land Rover in future and serve in Afghanistan if no problems arise during its service start. The vehicle has a modular design and is able to fulfill roles dependent on its modular variant.
June 18th, 2012 – The Foxhound LPPV arrived in Afghanistan and was transported via air C-17 aircraft. The vehicle has been predominantly used in the Helmand province region and has yet to suffer any major issues.