£53m visionary military equipment unveiled at Warminster
7:30am Friday 17th January 2014 in By Andy Baber, Senior reporter for Trowbridge
Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne unveiled new equipment to help British troops identify targets more clearly at Warminster Garrison yesterday.
The MoD has invested up to £53 million in new night vision and laser equipment that will enable soldiers to spot potential threats earlier and protect themselves against the enemy during day and night operations.
Among the new equipment is a state-of-the-art laser light, which will be provided to all infantry soldiers, which fits onto the SA80 rifle to give more accurate firing and can illuminate targets from up to 800m away.
The MoD has also invested in more than 15,000 new binoculars to be used alongside the upgraded laser lights, which will be easier to hold and 50 per cent lighter than the previous model.
Mr Dunne, who visited the Infantry Trials Development Unit at Warminster Garrison to see the new kit being put through its paces, said: “The ability to see further and in more detail will allow British troops to stay one step ahead of danger.
“The multi-million pound investment makes clear the MoD’s commitment to equipping our Armed Forces, including Reservists, with world-class battle-winning technology.
“It is important for our Reservists to know that they will be equipped to the same level as our regulars, using the same state-of-the art equipment.”
More than 4,000 additional head mounted night vision systems have also been purchased by the MoD for the Army Reserve, allowing soldiers to operate in poor light or dark buildings.
Mr Dunne added: “These binoculars, laser aimers and night vision goggles will improve situational awareness and reduce collateral damage across the battlefield.”
Lt Col Rob O’Connor, commanding officer of the Infantry Trials Development Unit, said the new equipment will enable soldiers to identify their target more effectively and communicate with their colleagues.
He said: “Our main function is trialling the new equipment to make sure it is appropriate for the soldier, so we trial it across a number of conditions, including the arctic, the desert and jungle.
“This new equipment will enhance the ability of the soldier to make more effective and timely decision making, as well as increasing their awareness and reducing the physical burden.”
Lt Callum Cameron, of the Warminster-based 1st Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, was one of the first soldiers to use the equipment over a six-week period on the Salisbury Plain and Sennybridge training areas.
Lt Cameron said: “The new equipment revolutionises how we fight at night. It is much more user friendly and it means we are safer and more effective. It’s the strength of the British Army that we can constantly make improvements as the technology develops.”