From new armoured vehicles to new varieties of 24 hour ration packs and blood transfusion machines, the latest Defence Equipment procured by the MOD was on show at this week's DVD event. Report by Danny Chapman.
DVD 2008, organised by Defence Equipment and Support, the part of the MOD which equips and supports the UK's Armed Forces, brought together manufacturers, purchasers and users in order to see the latest products and developments from the defence industry.
On Milbrook's off-road tracks, visitors, who included numerous British and other countries' military personnel, got to try out the new vehicles.
These included the two newest vehicles bought by the MOD, the Ridgback and the Panther. The Ridgback is created by upgrading American Cougar 4x4s with additional protection, weapons, communications systems and specialist electronic counter-measures equipment. 157 Cougars are currently undergoing the transformation and will soon be available for use by British troops in the urban environments of Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Panther is a new seven tonne command and liaison vehicle, which can operate in all weathers, day and night using thermal imaging equipment that "sees" in the dark. The vehicles are protected against a range of threats including small arms, blast and anti-personnel mines, and the majority are fitted with a sophisticated weapon system that allows the user to operate the machine guns with a camera and joystick from inside the vehicle.
DVD though is no longer just about vehicles and in an Army field kitchen in another part of the site, 20 new 24 hour ration pack menus were unveiled.
These new Multi Climate Ration Packs have been developed based on feedback from troops on operations and sees the replacement of things like chocolate bars, which melt, with energy bars and flapjacks and the introduction of such dishes as cold pasta which are far more suitable to the conditions and tempo of operations troops are working in. Six extra menus have been created for Halal, Vegetarian and Sikh/Hindu diners. The main aim though is to give troops living off the packs for weeks at a time a bit more variety.
MOD photographs © Crown Copyright/MOD 2008.