UK Combat Support Improving but Problems Remain

14 May 2009 (Last Updated May 14th, 2009 18:30)

A report released by the UK National Audit Office (NAO) has found that despite challenging operational environments the provision of support for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan has improved. The MoD has successfully delivered around 300,000 personnel and 90,000t of freight to Iraq and A

A report released by the UK National Audit Office (NAO) has found that despite challenging operational environments the provision of support for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan has improved.

The MoD has successfully delivered around 300,000 personnel and 90,000t of freight to Iraq and Afghanistan over the last two years. It has not, however, consistently met its targets for delivering supplies in a timely fashion according to the report.

The report also said that the amount of time taken for items to be delivered had reduced by half in Afghanistan and a third in Iraq since the conflict began.

Head of the National Audit Office, Tim Burr, says that despite the difficulties the MoD had several successes.

"There is still more to do. By improving the management and replenishment of stocks in theatre and getting a clearer picture of what supplies are available and where they are, the MoD could make real improvements to its supply chain," Burr said.

The report found that the MoD's prioritisation of urgent operational requirements has led to shortages of equipment matching that in theatre for Service personnel in the UK to train with.

The NAO found that the availability of vehicle equipment had generally met or exceeded targets, although the suspension and wheel hub reliability on the Vector vehicle had been poor and there have been spares shortages with some fleets, such as the Mastiff.

The availability and serviceability of helicopters has exceeded MoD targets, although prioritisation of spare parts for operations has led to reduced availability in the UK.

Welfare services are also generally well delivered, although the provision at the smaller more remote bases is lower than that provided at main operating bases.

By Daniel Garrun.