MoD "to buy new hi-tech vehicles" to protect troops

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The Ministry of Defence is to buy 600 new hi-tech vehicles to help protect British troops from bomb attacks in Afghanistan, the News of the World reported on Sunday.

So far 120 British service personnel have been killed in Afghanistan since the Taliban was toppled in 2001, with many the victims of roadside bombs.

The newspaper said the MoD had secured 500 million pounds from the Treasury to buy the new vehicles following pressure from the families of dead soldiers.

There has been criticism from some relatives about the Army's use of Snatch Land Rovers which it is argued do not provide adequate protection against improvised explosive devices.

According to the paper, the Army will receive 100 new heavily protected logistics vehicles based on the Mastiff - which the MoD rates as one of the best protected patrol vehicles in the world.

There would also be 100 new Jackals, weapons-mounted patrol vehicles, along with 100 high-mobility patrol vehicles and 300 new light support vehicles which would be improved to offer better protection from mines.

The Ministry of Defence would not confirm the deal but said it was "constantly looking to improve the equipment" of Britain's forces, and it had provided 100 Mastiff and 130 Jackal vehicles in the last two years.

"We are in discussions with the Treasury in relation to the provision of additional vehicles. It would therefore be inappropriate to comment further," an MoD spokesman said.