MoD kept failure of Challenger quiet

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by hansvonhealing, May 13, 2007.

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  1. Telegraph
    MoD kept failure of best tank quiet
    By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent, Sunday Telegraph

    One of the British Army's Challenger 2 tanks was pierced by an Iraqi insurgent missile more than eight months earlier than the Government has previously admitted.

    The Ministry of Defence had claimed that an attack last month that breached a tank's armour was the first of its kind in four years of war in Iraq. But another Challenger 2 was pierced by a powerful rocket-propelled grenade in August last year during an attack that blew off part of a soldier's foot and injured several others.

    The injured soldier's family has accused the Government of a cover-up and demanded to know why soldiers manning Challenger 2 tanks had not been warned of the failings with the tank's armour.

    Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, said he would challenge the government on why the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had apparently misled the public over the timing of the first incident in which the hugely robust defences of the Challenger had been breached.

    He said: "Obviously, no armour is indestructible and there is no doubt that the insurgents have increasingly sophisticated technology but it is important in maintaining public confidence that the MoD and the Government tell the truth to the -British public."

    The Challenger 2 is reputed to be one of the most sophisticated tanks in the world and those used in Iraq by the British Army are built with Dorchester armour, the composition of which is top secret. The tank is also fitted with explosive reactive armour (ERA) at its front that should deflect any weapon fired at its hull.

    The MoD has finally confirmed that the tank's armour was breached last August and has said that an investigation was conducted to discover why the ERA appears to have failed. However, the department refused to comment on its findings, citing security reasons.

    In the August attack, which occurred during an operation to arrest a leading insurgent in the town of al-Amarah, in southern Iraq, the Challenger was damaged when a Russian-made rocket-propelled grenade, known as an RPG-29, defeated the ERA and penetrated the driver's cabin.

    ...On April 6, a Challenger was damaged by a roadside bomb in Basra. In that attack a soldier lost both his legs. Details of the incident were not made public until April 23, when the MoD claimed: "This was the first successful attack on a Challenger 2. It's the first bomb to have damaged it."

    Full article:

    Was it motivated by security needs or embarrassment?
  2. Depends. Though given the number of trashed M1s we've seen, it's hardly indightful of the Chally.

    As to the delay... is it a case of clever wording by the MoD to draw a subtle distinction between IEDs and RPGs or is the Torygraph skewing things?

    I'd like a clear answer to that question, at least.
  3. I don't find the fact that the failure of the chally's armour wasn't publicised the least bit shocking or devious.

    Why would the MoD go around shouting about it, what good would it do for the blokes to know it was vunerable, they still have to use it.

    Why would you tell you enemy the tactic that they empoyed worked, that a certain type of weapon was successful.

    I'd say it was motivated by security needs and don't see how anyone can find fault in keeping it quiet.
  4. Is it important for Joe Public to know?
    I don't think so

    Is it important the insurgents don't know?
    I think it very important they don't know.

    For me it's a security aspect and not one of spin.
  5. Sixty

    Sixty LE Moderator Book Reviewer
    1. ARRSE Cyclists and Triathletes

    You're quite right.

    Given that the blokes out there would have known the driver/crew involved and therefore about the attack then the MoD shouting about it would be un-neccessary and counter-productive.
  6. Dear Torygraph and the rest of the press,

    Please shut up about OPSEC related matters. There is no public interest case here that is of greater importance than the protection of forces in the field.

    Rant over.
  7. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    This story was broken by the Daily Mail in April - link.

    What is Sean Rayment's motivation for resurrecting it ? To improve morale? To tell us something we haven't heard before ?

    ( of course the £8 a word he's paid by the credulous editor of the S.Tel for doing so might have something to do with it....)

    Hey Squarebasher - how does that compare with Lord Gnome's generosity?

    Next time you talk to a journo, (or indeed your words from ARRSE are quoted with or without attribution ) ask him/her what the going rate for their piece is going to be - and ask for half as an appearance fee :-D

    Le Chevre
  8. Go along with this view - shame that the MOD has made such a pig's ear of communication throughout, that probably increases the "is it spin" factor more than anything else.

    The arrival of UTube and t'internet forums, raises a lot of stuff that MOD must wish did not have public front of house. There again, will the fact that this is "public" quicken any actions or SOP's to mitigate future incidents of this type?
  9. Its a case of need to know - those that needed to know about the incident knew. The MOD is not obliged to report every incident to the public, nor disseminate the contents of every SINCREP.

    What the muppets in the media don't get is that this is a war. Everything we reveal for the 30seconds interest they'll show, before moving onto mrs miggins kitten stuck in a tree (no doubt shown as "Breaking News", will actively damage our personnels H&S in the field.
  10. Makes you wonder how many people are being paid to post on ARRSE as well - Is it me, or does the number of "on-message" posts that appear on ARRSE seem to be increasing?
  11. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer


    You mean there are people out there who get PAID to do this???

    Where do I sign up - it's gotta beat what I do now for a living.

    ( and I've never been 'On message' in my life - though I have been appalled to hear a serving Army officer use the phrase in a non-ironic fashion)

    Just get a bit ticked off with the relentless ' MoD got it wrong' shtick put out by our beloved Fourth Estate is all. on the other hand may wish to swallow whatever News International and others wish to peddle at any given moment........include me out.

    Lee Shaver
  12. Nothing ever changes does it? I seem to recall during the Falklands War (OK, I was only 15 at the time so I might be wrong), that some journo revealed the reason why so many of the bombs dropped by the Argies on the RN camped out in Falkland Sound off San Carlos, were passing straight through the ships without exploding. Apparently he discovered that the pilots were releasing them to close to the ships, thereby not giving the bomb sufficient time to arm itself in flight. This was duly published at the time without due regard to the consequences and the Argies tested and adjusted accordingly.

    Rant On
    Looks like the same thing is happening here. Do these cnuts not understand that this is a real war and that real people bleed real blood when things go wrong. They will publish anything without due regard to the consequences. It makes my fcuking blood boil. :x
    Rant Off

  13. I'm with you on that Goatman - Sadly Murdoch makes nothing from me!

    I'm surprised that SquareBasher hasn't been exposed yet. It's not you is it?! :D

    AWaits "I am SquareBasher" type posts :)
  14. Lets just keep dragging this sh1te up, just to keep the guys on the ground sh1tting themselves even more than what they already are!!! Jesus!
  15. If it were me, I'd prefer to know that the vehicle I was in wasn't as impervious as I thought. It might make me less prone to taking shortcuts in a false sense of security.

    The enemy will probably be able to infer their tactic/weapon was successful from the FOB brew-up in the middle of the road.

    None of which justifies splattering this sort of thing repeatedly and in big letters across every 'newspaper' in the land.