The Chilcot report into the war in Iraq has blasted the Ministry of Defence for being slow to response to the threat of IED’s.
“We have found that the Ministry of Defence was slow in responding to the threat from Improvised Explosive Devices and that delays in providing adequate medium-weight protected patrol vehicles should not have been tolerated.”
The Snatch Land Rover was heavily used in the conflict, the vehicle is a protected patrol vehicle based on the Land Rover Defender 110 chassis.
The vehicle was criticised as occupants deaths have resulted from kinetic attacks which exceeded the level of protection available.
Use of the vehicle has been the subject of criticism by the media, politicians and the families of some casualties in both the Afghan and Iraqi areas of British operations. This criticism became public knowledge in 2005 when the media published claims from civil servants in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development advising against the use of the vehicles.
Later concerns were raised in Parliament, presenting comparison with the U.S. Marine Corps deployment of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Cougar, which appeared to have provided more protection. The conservative peer Lord Astor of Hever raising the comparison and inviting comment. In response the Minister for Defence Procurement, Lord Drayson, acknowledged that the Snatch was inappropriate but identified that trade-offs around protection and mobility were required as well as highlighting previous maintainability issues with an earlier version of the Cougar. Similar issues were then reported in a Sunday Telegraph opinion piece and other news outlets.
These also recognised the need for trade-off decisions to be made around posture and mobility.
Media reporting continued to escalate the topic whilst parliamentary dialogue continued.
Four families of servicemen killed in Snatch Land Rovers in Iraq and Afghanistan are to sue the Ministry of Defence, as reported by the BBC on 19 June 2009. Since 2003, some 37 UK personnel have been killed while using the vehicles.
The use of the Snatch in Afghanistan and Iraq has caused troops to name it a “Mobile Coffin”.