File on Four - How does Lord Drayson sleep at night?

Discussion in 'Infantry' started by Adjutant, Oct 10, 2006.

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  1. Has anyone else listened to Radio 4's "File On Four" programme this evening?

    If you haven't, here's the link.

    I'm just off down my local Chinook shop to buy a few more for the lads. If, for any reason he hasn't got any in stock, I'll pop across the road to the Chinook leasing shop and lease a few - that should be easy enough as there are loads of them just lying around, waiting for any poor procurement blokes who got it all wrong to get them out of a tricky situation...

    As for BOWMAN, well, you've seen the thread. Unbelievable...

    Take a fourteen stretch and pick up your P45 on the way out.

  2. Right at the end (at 36:30);

    BBC - “Do you accept British soldiers have been killed as a result of procurement issues with equipment?”

    Lord Drayson - “No I don’t”.

    Perhaps the BBC will now ask Lord Drayson precisely what part of the Army Board of Inquiry verdict into the death of Sgt Steve Roberts he disagrees with, and why.

    See, for example,,,1834665,00.html

    And perhaps the BBC would like to rephrase the question to include all Servicemen, to establish if Lord Drayson disagrees with the verdict on the Hercules brought down by enemy fire last year. And use the word “acquisition”, not “procurement”. Different meaning, and it allows him to dissemble.

    The programme is a valiant attempt at pinning MoD down, but ultimately fails because (a) they do not ask the correct questions, and (b) they do not follow up the answers provided (initially by demanding MoD actually answer the questions).

    On BOWMAN, Drayson openly disagrees with D/Inf’s rejection of PRC 354 as too heavy. He says it is “Not possible to come up with something lighter” and so it is not too heavy. Absolute rubbish. But, again, the initiative is lost because the interviewer lacks the detailed knowledge to challenge, or ask the question at a systems level. As has been said elsewhere, the radio is probably pretty good on the test bench, but it must be integrated, fielded and always considered as a system – radio, battery, spare batteries, antenna, cabling, carriage. It isn’t. (By the way, Drayson uses precisely the same words used by certain BOWMAN “supporters” in other threads and forums. It’s likely that the party line and key BOWMAN sound bites have been updated and all staff told to adopt them).

    Over to you BBC – next instalment?
  3. what about the body armour fiasco where units were short and had a fatality because of it?
  4. With regards to the body armour fiasco. (And a fiasco it was!)I have heard from numerous different sources, from different corps, the same thing that
    Sgt. Roberts was killed by friendly fire from one of his own CR2s. He was caught in a burst of GPMG 7.62 from a soldier who believed he had no other choice but to open fire to protect his dismounted colleagues.

    The point being that he was wounded in such a way that had he been wearing his body armour it would not have saved him.
    The shots that killed him struck his body at the sides where there is no HV protection.

    Now I have never seen the type of armour that he had given away up close and so I don't know if there is any credibility in these facts. Does anyone know any different?
  5. Lord Drayson was absolutely remarkable. It was like he was trying some form of Jedi Mind Trick:

    “BOWMAN is not too heavy.”

    Er, yes it is. The battery on a 354 weighs more than the radio it replaced (the 349). What technology does it have in it that prevents it being smaller? Valves and pistons? All it does is store channels, hold fill and send and receive. So does Cougar. So does my f*cking mobile phone. So does stuff from Tandy and Radio Shack. So does the stuff the Australians, Germans, Yanks etc use. You can now buy wrist GPSs. The PSP is significantly cleverer than a BOWMAN radio.

    It is truly enormous. It has a webbing pouch, but fills a side pocket of a patrol sack.

    PM me, Lord Drayson, and I’ll explain all. Or why not come to Iraq to see the nightmare we’re having. We can’t even get it to work on Secure. It is therefore, if you’ll indulge me, worse than 349.

    On File On 4 they have clips from the GD promotional video. One bloke, apparently a soldier, claims it is easier to use than Clansman. What! Easier than turning it on and talking?

    I will go so far to say that Lord Drayson is either stupid or a liar. He is, I suspect, the latter.
  6. On the File on 4 broadcast Lord Drayson is questioned at length on the PRC 354. From the dialogue LD made it quite clear that he disagreed with D/Inf’s view that the PRC 354 (section radio) is unfit for role.

    Drayson's line is quite perplexing. DInf is HQ land Command's proponent for all Bowman equipment used by the dismounted soldier. The Senior Responsible Office for Bowman and Digitisation is the Assistant Chief of the General Staff (ACGS). In 2003 DInf first raised the problems of the PRC 354. BATCISIPT and DECCCII (and others) immediately went on the defensive and did their very best to undermine DInf's views on this. However, in 2004 ACGS came down publicly on DInf's side stating that the PRC 354 is unfit for service for those soldiers involved in dismounted war fighting operations. ACGS was admitting that a procurement blunder had been made here and agreeing with DInf and HQ Land Command.

    Now the File on 4 radio programme was broadcast last Oct well after ACGS’s statement. So we have the strange situation where the minister of Defence Procurement (Lord Drayson) is very publicly disagreeing with the Assistant Chief of the General Staff (the Bowman and Digitization SRO) and HQ Land Command.

    Is it conceivable that Drayson did not know what line his SRO had taken on this? I doubt it.
  7. One for the journo's trolling on this site,

    How many Urgent Operational Requirements (UOR's) have been submitted since the start of hostilities in Iraq - this should highlight how well we were equipped.

    To find out request info from the MoD quoting the freedonm of information act.
  8. From photos of I saw, it looked like Sgt Roberts had previously been issued the 'old' CBA, without the pocket for the ceramic insert.

    As far as I know, this was standard practice for AFV crews because(correct me if I'm wrong), the ceramic insert made life inside a tank even more uncomfortable than it already is. I remember plenty of the 1RTR boys from JNBCR had the old vests, and were less than happy when the regt was re-roled to stability ops in April 03.

    Regardless of the above, it is unexcuseable that such equipment was clearly required - but not available - due to a lack of urgency in signing off the business case - itself a result of a political adgenda not to be seen preparing for a war that was neither "iminent nor inevitable".
  9. Most of the DATs and Bradley crew I know have the attitude that body armor is a waste of time for them... generally they think that if something is capable of penetrating the IFV's hide, the personal armor will be useless and only make unassing the vehicle more difficult. Of course there always is the issue of spalling...

    Far as coms go... a few of you hit the nail right on the head when you mentioned how celular phones are capable of so much with less weight and size. Always used to annoy the heck out of me that our RTO's were weighed down with bulky manpack radios... milspecs never take into account the poor soldier carrying the gear. What good is a radio that is lead lined and armored to survive a fricking atomic blast if no one survives to use it eh?
  10. For those of you who missed the original BBC Radio 4 "File on 4" broadcast you can listen again by using the following link:

    Thanks to stonker who first placed the link on "Infantry Views of Bowman".
  11. Ignore him he's a dick and somehow - inbred with my old man
  12. I'm afraid that, after a promising start, Lord Drayson seems to have been sucked into the corrosive, and corroded, MoD machinery.

    His Defence Industrial Strategy was a masterpiece of presentation but, not unlike a typical budget speech, the real meaning became clear later. This manifested itself as a whole department and programme set up to pander to BAeS' whim.

    Later, the Defence Technology Strategy, largely prepared by QinetiQ and Dstl and pushing, at every opportunity, QQ's (MoD funded) research, offered a mix of the blindingly obvious, and "strategies" and some technologies which have been in research or development for over a decade; and in some cases trumpeted forthcoming research on technologies which have been In Service for years! In effect, the DTS confirmed QinetiQ's role as preferred bidder for just about anything they like and paved the way to drive a bus through the existing agreement with them that was designed to maintain open and fair competition with the rest of industry. Just why is it that work funded by Government when QQ were part of MoD is not made available to competitors? Yes, MoD can run a competition, but only QQ can answer the question, as they have been provided with the answer to the exclusion of everyone else. And, having been advised of this, Lord Drayson condones it.

    Have you read these papers? Do so, while remembering that having a strategy which mentions research technologies and aspirations by the bucketload is light years away from fully funded policies and equipment programmes. It just provides jobs for the boys. MoD have hundreds, if not thousands, of people playing with this, but no practical means of "pulling the research through" (their term) to the ultimate goal of increased operational effectiveness.

    A strategy which permits, nay encourages, waste on this industrial scale, while our troops go without, is madness. BOWMAN is the tip of a very large iceberg. My advice, Lord Drayson, would be to shut your door to anyone above the rank of WO2 for a month and find out what's really going on!! Divorce yourself from the self-serving parasites who buffer you from the real world. You will quickly discover their worth (they're worthless). Then sack them.