Saturday 3 September 2005

Which one would you prefer?

The online journal Defense Industry Daily criticises Booker for attacking the MoD’s decision to buy the Italian-built Panther light armoured vehicle at £413,000 each instead of the up-armoured Humvee at £100,000 each.

Even the US, writes DID, is upgrading its armoured fleet, buying in vehicles such as the M117 Guardian (illustrated left). As it happens, the US recently purchased 724 of these vehicles on a fixed-price contract of $258.8m, which equates to $357,458 or £194,092 each - i.e. less than half the price of the Panther.

If you were a soldier in hostile territory, exposed to bombs, mines and gunfire, which would you prefer? The Panther (right), or the Guardian (above)? And, if you were – as you most certainly are – a taxpayer, which would you prefer, £413,000 or £194,092? Well, you have not been given a choice. The MoD have already decided that the Pather is the best vehicle for the British Army.

That, dear readers, is part of the price we are paying for European defence integration.