Unmanned Aerial Vehicles scanned the horizon for enemy action. Jackal vehicles with their awesome firepower raced ahead using the latest surveillance and targeting systems. Infantry stood ready to strike with deadly sniper rifles, mortars and grenade machine guns - this wasn't a major operation in Afghanistan but the UK's largest demonstration of military equipment purchased urgently for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hundreds of pieces of equipment and over 500 people gathered on Salisbury Plain for a powerful demonstration of the advanced technology and cutting-edge equipment that is supporting our troops on operations.
From the heavily armoured Mastiff patrol vehicle - a hero of recent operations in Afghanistan, to sophisticated thermal imaging sights and the latest state-of-the-art cameras and remote weapons systems - all were on site and demonstrating their effect to those present.
Baroness Taylor, Minister for Defence Equipment and Support said:
"The Urgent Operational Requirements (UOR) process is an undisputed success - over £3Bn of extra money has been spent on new equipment for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan - from new armoured vehicles like Mastiff and Ridgback to remote weapon systems which are protecting the soldiers in their bases.
"Working with our partners in industry, we have responded quickly to the evolving and often unpredictable threats our soldiers face on operations. We have listened to the feedback from the ground and procured state-of-the-art kit to meet the urgent needs of our troops. The large display of equipment here today is testament to the effectiveness of that UOR process."
All the equipment demonstrated today has been recently procured or upgraded through the urgent operational requirement process, with funds coming directly from the Treasury and separate to the defence budget.
Major General Bill Moore CBE, Director General Logistic Support and Equipment, Land Forces said:
"The Army is well equipped on operations. The equipment fielded in both Afghanistan and Iraq, when coupled with offensive tactics, techniques and procedures enables our soldiers to seize the initiative and conduct successful operations against the insurgents. It is also saving lives."
1. The operational demonstration gave those present the opportunity to view an impressive selection of weapons, vehicles and upgrades. In most cases the equipment has been sourced and delivered in record time, thanks to the UOR process.
2. Personal protection is a vital subject and so in addition to a scenario-based demonstration of the equipment and static stands, there were specific briefings on:
a) CAMP PROTECTION: New Operational Base Remote Weapon System ENFORCER by Selex and the cutting edge CORTEZ. State-of-the-art threat detection systems such as aerostat mounted cameras and ground movement sensors can produce information overload - the CORTEZ system fuses these inputs and displays them on a single user friendly digital map. If the camp is under direct threat, the new ENFORCER remote weapons system is ready to respond.
b) INDIVIDUAL PROTECTION: Dismounted Close Combat - infantrymen have undergone the most radical upgrade of all. A unique opportunity to compare a soldier from 2003 with the amount of personal equipment issued on current operations. The 2008 version now benefits from the latest target acquisition and night fighting technology that add as much to personal protection as the body armour.
c) VEHICLE PROTECTION: The UOR process is inherently flexible and can be just as effective in adding upgrades to equipment when new threats are detected as well as procuring new vehicles. A Warrior Fighting Vehicle was compared and contrasted from its standard variant to the new Theatre Entry Standard (Warrior (TES)) which benefits from a large number of upgrades.
d) TACTICAL PROTECTION: Armour helps and mobility can keep us safer but the best protection for our troops comes from knowing what the enemy intends to do. Tactical Commanders can now see the threats that lie over the next hill. The latest versions of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle such as Desert Hawk and Hermes were on display. As a recent addition to the armoury, industry representatives were on hand to explain their role in opening up this latest new tactical dimension. (ends)
Powerful Demonstration of Military Equipment