back to article British troops get nifty techno-gunsights

The Ministry of Defence has announced a new £150m purchase of hi-tech weapon sights and optics, saying that the new kit will "improve soldier lethality" and "support the British defence industrial base". Serving soldiers have disparaged only a little of the new kit - and much of the money will in fact be spent overseas. New …


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  1. Yorkshirepudding

    perk list

    will it be on CODMW2?

    Reflex sight ftw!!!

  2. Richard 81
    Thumb Up

    All sound pretty good.

    Especially the buying it from other countries bit. Just because we have lots of wars and are quite innovative in terms of initial war tech research, doesn't mean we're any good at making stuff.

  3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Supporting British industry, eh?

    Canada is almost British, isn't it?

    More seriously, I'm more comfortable with buying kit from our allies, which doesn't support British industry, than I am with selling kit to our (future) enemies, which does.

  4. pedrodude

    Second Richard 81

    Get the best, wherever it's made. Might force British industry to up its game.

  5. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!

    Ahh, "rock apes"...

    I was going to join them when I was a nipper. When "Top Gun" came out, and everyone wanted to fly fighter planes, I wanted to shoot them down and hopefully get Tom Cruise, even back then - just for what he did to encourage "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" to be sung far too many times in bars. I applied when I was old enough, but during a 4-week taster in my last summer holidays from school they didn't like the fact that I questioned stupid orders, and I didn't like the fact that they tried to give me stupid orders, so we both kinda gave up on the idea. Was fun playing with all the kit, though, especially the guns - much preferred the SLR to the SA80 - you felt like you were actually firing a weapon, and anyone hit by one of those things was NOT gonna get up again!

    The SUSAT was a great piece of kit, way, way better than the PoS it was mounted on, which had a list of flaws that would exceed the comment space limit. The grenade-launcher is a good idea, and I'm amazed that they've only taken 40 years to copy the idea from the US after the introduction of the M203 attachment to the M16. With the additional weight of the launcher on the weapon - as well as the additional kit weight of the ammo - I can certainly understand why the troops aren't keen on the additional range-finder as well - but I see the author's point in using for training purposes to estimate elevation / range, be beneficial for that.

    Maybe, just maybe, we'll see our troops with everything they need to fight a war by 2025...

  6. Sillyfellow

    common sense ???

    all the better to kill our fellow humans with...

    and this is common sense?


    throw down your weapons. refuse to perpetrate harm and death. and go home.

    chances of this comment actually being put up by the reg mods? nil to very slim. why? because our unwise leaders require opinions like mine to be silenced and/or ridiculed as this doesn't support their foolish self-serving agendas..

    and before you flame me down telling me how much great stuff we have a result of war-tec, first think about how much better off we would be if we had dedicated all those resources specifically to help and benefit all people and inhabitants of our frail little planet. instead of trying to find better ways to extinguish it. and think about how many people killed in wars would still be alive .

    thank you for listening.

  7. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: common sense ???

    Why would you equate Reg mods with the authorities? Don't be daft. I'd rather not deal with the inevitable crap this is going to cause but I'm not going to give in to your persecution fantasies by rejecting your comment. It's a valid opinion and you didn't say a big rude word. Go ahead.

    The rest of you - try and be sort of nice and only throw soft objects, please.

  8. Tom 110

    Those ignorant of shooting realities

    I am... tell me more?

  9. Lyndon Barry
    Thumb Up

    Re:Sarah Bee

    "I'm not going to give in to your persecution fantasies"

    What happened to the moderatrix? what did you do with her?

    In other, more sensible commentary. It's a "Good Thing" (TM) that the Brits are buying foreign, because the UK Arms industry (From guns to planes) is so bunged up with politicians, senior civil servants and CEO types trying to milk it for all it's worth that anything ordered today will no doubt see a 5 year delay and a 500% increase in costs.

    I'd personally love to see someone "in authority" tell these companies that "No, you quoted X for the price and Y for the delivery date and if you're late, you're going to have to pay fines and if you go over budget tough shit, that's your problem"

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Funding Stream

    It's not a huge surprise that they've chosen to fund it from FIST rather than a UOR.

    One of* the largest dodges in the MoDs funding is that any UOR that is retained for more than two years has it's value clawed back by the Treasury. As this kit will no doubt be used for more than two years they're paying for it now rather than later.

    It's quite a scandal actually, the Treasury get to spout the line "we cover the cost of current operations" while they're quietly clawing back hundreds of millions of pounds from the procurement budget. End result is the MoD paying for kit they never planned to buy while the procurement budget implodes.

    * I say one of, as without doubt the largest dodge is the use of Resource Allocation Budgeting at the MoD. All sorts of political budgeting sins have been obfuscated by RAB.

  11. GeorgeTuk

    Thirding Richard81

    I agree we really should be looking everywhere for our kit to get it bought and into the hands of the people that need it. If it's already been designed and built lets buy that one instead of wasting time designing our own.

    Silly arguments about the importance of kit being British cost us a lot of money, maybe for potentially conflict changing assets (like the Type45 and Taranis...I am not saying they are value for money though!) but for something that everyone else has already and we are buying in bulk numbers it should be best on the market.

  12. Mr Brush
    Thumb Up

    Reg posting guidelines in a nutshell

    1. Valid opinions only.

    2. Don't say a big rude word.

    Can't say fairer than that.

  13. seanj

    Re: common sense? (Sillyfellow)

    Yes, we poor lowly humans who don't know any better have wars. Boo-frikkin'-hoo.

    But since we're having them anyway, maybe we should try and kit out our troops so our side wins, eh? Now that's common sense.

    Grenade icon used without a hint of irony.

  14. Mark 29
    Paris Hilton

    @Sarah Bee

    Do you count as a soft object?

    Paris, because she's been chucked lots of times

  15. lukewarmdog


    By name and by nature maybe.. the rather wonderful mods and modettes here keep me smiling yet informed on a daily basis, no mean feat. I would throw soft beer but it comes in hard glasses so I'll just drink it instead.

    I always liked the gun that could shoot behind rocks but I'm a bigger fan of gamers flying those armed drones in combat zones. Gives a large percentage of our unemployed something to do that they're actually good at.

  16. Jeff Cook

    Re: common sense ???

    Pacifism only works if everyone does it and that is not going to happen. Ask the Dali Lama how that worked for his country.

    Mine's the one with the pistol in the pocket just in case.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Re: common sense ???

    War is like Microsoft Windows

    Originally war felt like the only option. Now there are better alternatives but we still go to war every generation or two/upgrade our copies of Windows every couple of years simply out of force of habit.

    Some people have woken up to ask "why are will still doing this?" - most people just don't care.


    /Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to get flamed harder than you. AC obviously. Icon was a tossup between flame, joke alert and IT?.

  18. Donal Gavin
    Paris Hilton


    is it just me getting really old or do the soldiers in the picture look about 12

  19. Chris Miller

    @Sillyfellow (what an apt handle) - read your Kipling

    When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.

    They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.

    But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,

    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

    "The Gods of the Copybook Headings" (1919)

  20. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down

    I agree with the troll

    More kit to help British people kill foreigners. I don't see how this is progress.

    I know, peacekeeping, blah de blah - but the arms trade fair is sick, no two ways about it.

    Not to mention how much kit is bought from the Israelis - funding their illegal ethnic cleansing.

  21. Snot Nice

    @ Sillyfellow

    Are you French?

    That is all.

  22. Rod MacLean

    Not really all that useful

    This is not really going to help against road side incendiary devices or against suicide bombers - which seem to be the biggest threats the troops are facing.

    ...but no, I don't believe in war or in our reasons for having an "eternal war" which seems to be the logical end result of our capitalist society (and was indeed predicted as such over 100 years ago!)

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Of Course It'll not arrive till 2011

    That gives the companies the time to initiate the other time honoured MOD tradition, trebleing the price, investigating the backhanders to MP's and lastly, use as a political tool "jobs for locals" in specific area's for the next election campaign.... oh and maybe kitting our troops with outdated kit, as by then, gadaffi will have much better tech

  24. Paul 4


    I love it when people say stupid things like "chances of this comment actually being put up by the reg mods?" and then get posted.

    Also, War is a nessasary evil. Some people cannot be talked too, and war happens when all else has failed. You seem to think we go to war for fun and people fight for the love of killing. That is a worrying view of others.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Re: common sense ???


    Actually, if you want to be pragmatic about it, the best way to save the planet would be to remove about 4 billion humans, through war or disease, take your pick. Or is your compassion for life conveniently limited to lifeforms with DNA sufficiently similar to your own? Yup, it's a painful truth, but we humans are the bad guys here, lop off our heads I say. Oh, 'cept mine of course.

    Otherwise, good kit, but it is wise giving it to the fifteen year olds in the picture?

  26. Anonymous Coward

    @common sense ???

    >throw down your weapons. refuse to perpetrate harm and death.

    A lovely idea. However, Britain is a large, wealthy industrialised nation, and as well as opening doors of opportunity, it also brings with it responsibilities. We are members of NATO, as well as of the United Nations. As such, if we are called upon to deploy militarily in support of our partners, we must accept.

    Now, granted, there are places where I personally believe that our troops could be achieving greater good than they are currently. Peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in Rwanda. Electoral monitoring in West Africa. Support to the civil authorities in the UK, because the emergency services are, in some areas, struggling at present. The presence of a few (unarmed) squaddies as backup to keep back any troublemakers would remove the problem seen a few weeks ago when a lone paramedic refused to enter a bar, fearing for her safety.

    Not all of those, you'll note, are conventional military operations. Having worked with a large number of uniformed personnel, both serving and retired, I can say that I strongly believe they'd be up to the challenge of expanding their skill sets, however.

    So, on either some varieties of routine ops as suggested above, or contingent ops as (legitimately) decided by NATO or the UN, there is a chance that our armed forces will see combat. I agree that we should attempt to reduce the frequency of this as much as possible, but I also feel that, as a nation, having agreed to send our soldiers, sailors, and airmen, we have a duty to equip and support them as well as possible, to ensure that as many as possible, if not all, come back in the same healthy state of body and mind as that in which they departed.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    @Jeff Cook

    >Mine's the one with the pistol in the pocket just in case.

    And there I thought you were just pleased to see me.

  28. Anonymous Coward


    Whilst I agree that our troops should have the best kit available. I cannot agree with the foolish people who love to buy from foreign countries. If we must buy a piece of foreign kit, then have it made here under license. If we had taken that approach in 1940, we'd be speaking German now. I can just see it now.

    We need more guns!

    But we are skint and can't make them ourselves, the Yanks won't sell them and Europe has been overrun.

    Got a white flag anyone?

    I do notice that when foreign countries buy European arms, they are always made in their own country so that they have the capability to make more and there is some technology transfer. I also agree with the poster who mentioned the over bureaucratic waste of space this is our arms industry.

    So i say buy British made, and keep us all working!

    And too those that say, Europe/UK will never be over run, the I'd refer you to history where it has happened/ and been attempted many times in history before. India/China might not always be so friendly in the future.

  29. Sillyfellow
    Thumb Up

    thank you all.

    Thank you Sarah. i'm not new in here as you probably know from many previous contentious comments. it wasn't my intention to equate you (and the other wonderful reg mods) to the 'authorities'. i put that in my comment to try not to be ignored. sorry about that. i hope you understand. (many many previous and similar comments never got posted). so, again. thank you. you know i don't usually behave that way or make such accusations, and indeed have the utmost respect for you and the way you conduct yourself. so again i apologise.

    it's not my intention to be a troll and stir up flaming sessions for amusement. i only want to say how i feel about such things so you all know. it's about respecting life in all it's forms.

    oh, and no, i'm not french. hehe. i'm a citizen of earth who presently resides in England. i'm actually an african originally from Zimbabwe.

  30. CMQ


    "A gleaming bit of kit,"

    Clearly a quote from some muppet in the MOD, or a tame Rodney.

    A real Tom would have said: "Gucci bit of kit"...

  31. Marcus Aurelius


    As a ex resident of Zimbabwe, can you honestly say that those without weapons have not been dispossessed by those with weapons?

  32. Daniel Wilkie

    Not to be picky...

    It's not that difficult to fire the SA80 from some quite bizarre angles, excepting it's weight. It really has very low recoil, especially if you compare it to the yank rifles in their various forms.

    Just thought I'd point it out.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Sounds good but....

    .... what about the basics that our troops still need, you know the trivial things like body armour, boots and helmets etc.

    Sounds too much like the MOD has basically said "here's some kit to help you kill more efficiently but we're not too bothered if you get killed as long as we can recover that kit of course".

    Sounds like a nice budget they are using, how many mothballed/non-flight worthy chinnocks could that put in the air to avoid roadside bombs?

    More money on keeping our lads alive please, they are already good at their job just a shame there not paid the respect and money they deserve.

    Common sense misguided methinks.

  34. Jeff Cook

    @AC RE:@Jeff

    Actual I was pleased to see Sarah Bee...

  35. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    As an evil

    maker of very lethal weapons and hearterly laugh at the thought of the death and destruction wrought by the stuff I help to make.. may I say

    Actually I work in a small business where 75% of our manufacturing is in medical equipment and for people with disabilities

    The military stuff we make gets assembled elsewhere by a couple more companies then exported to the US for the US military because the British MOD is too stingy to buy it.

    Without it, 16 people would be out of work, and the medical and disabled stuff would then be made aboard too.

    Plus I'd have to watch daytime TV <shudder>

  36. Si 1

    Presumably they bought 4

    One for each troop pictured. ;)

  37. Sillyfellow


    many times, it is true that those without weapons have been dispossessed by those with weapons. also many with weapons have been dispossessed by others with weapons.

    it's not the weapons that are the problem, it's people's lack of personal ethics regarding life who are the problem.

    that's exactly why i said what i did.

    we need an end to all this senseless killing. regardless of any rhyme or reason.

    if someone threatened or attacked me or my family i would surley defend myself, but never so far as to take life. if it comes down to kill or be killed, then i choose to rather die.

    if we all had that approach and ethics, there could be no war. let me be clear that this attitude does not make me a victim or potential victim. because i refuse to be a victim. ever. you'd have to kill me first. and i would forgive you if you did.

  38. windywoo

    Our proud boys need every bit of equipment they can get

    To kill conscripted soldiers in Iraq (when they didn't run away), to kill militia with Vietnam era weapons or worse, to get blown up by roadside bombs laid by guerillas that they haven't defeated after 5 years of fighting.

    @Marcus Aurelius, you just add to his argument. If the wealthy western countries and former soviet block didn't sell guns to dictators and warlords in Africa then that region would be a lot more stable.

  39. MeRp

    RE: Despair #

    Regarding your reference to WWII... Have you heard of Cash and Carry, Destroyers for Bases, and Lend-Lease? I think your implication that British were essentially on their own producing all of their own materiel for WWII is pretty misguided. "The Yanks won't sell them" is simply a patently false statement.

    This sin't to say that having domestic materiel production capabilities isn't important, just that we all have allies, and, even when those allies are reluctant, if the need is great enough, usually they will come through to some extent.

  40. Nusato

    Was there an article?

    All I saw where hot guys in uniform with sexy weapons. Oh those wacky hormones. I'll have to turn off images and go back and read it again.

  41. Suburban Inmate

    Oh gawd... Should I? Shouldn't I?

    Only 4 cans so far, might as well give it a go:

    Look, sod the Buying British part. Either way it's an outfit designed to screw everyone but the owners. I know we all had lovely cosy images of boiler-suited salt-of-the-earth workers 48 hours a week to produce the bestest shinyest kit for "Our Boys" (TM)

    Qioptiq Ltd

    Glascoed Road

    St Asaph


    LL17 0LL

    Tel: +44 (0) 1745 588000

    Fax +44 (0) 1745 584258

    So far so located-in-the-UK.

    "[Parent Organisation] Candover is an international private equity firm, with its roots in European buyouts."

    Uh oh.... <--- just LOOK at the bloke!!! Then do your own digging, as I have no wish to inflict yet more drunken ramblings on Teh Modaratiks or anyone else. I'm off to watch District 9.

  42. Eric Hood

    under-barrel shotty

    The Americans are moving away from under-barrel GL to under-barrel shotguns especially for urban conflicts, with different rounds for door busting and solid slugs for vehicles perhaps these should be considered too.

  43. Andrew Tyler 1

    Confusing photograph, that.

    Is the second soldier from the left in the picture a woman with really hairy forearms or a man with a really effeminate face?

  44. Mr Ian
    Thumb Up

    To be perfectly fair here..

    Humanity is fighting far fewer wars than they used to. With the advancements in global communications and the economy, we're now capable of diffusing disagreements between countries, or even states/territories quite efficiently. Your ideal world based on pacifism is slowly being realised, so sit back down on your pink fluffy chair.

    In the meantime, our soldiers still need to be kitted out in the best so we can PROTECT our nation from those humans that don't seem to like being pacifists as well. Whether you agree with the reason for the wars or not is a different matter entirely, and as such should be part of a different debate.

  45. not.known@this.address

    Not "made in Britain"?

    Didn't Thales buy a few British companies over the years? Wasn't there a building alongside the A3 in Surrey that used to have something like 'Racal' or 'Racal-Decca' on it that now says Thales? And was there not a story on El Reg a few days ago that mentioned a Thales factory in deepest Wales?

    Much of the kit gets designed over here, then some Johnny Foreigner shows up and the Management decide to make a quick buck flogging their shares (and, coincidentally, the IP rights) and the once-proud English manufacturing industry ends up a shell of what it once was...

    Other names to conjure with include Hawker Aircraft, sold to Bombardier by BAe as being a "non-core business unit" since they only made executive jets (even though they kept their Property Management company, and Rover who made *cars*), Westland sold to Agusta (who have since sold the results of the British Experimental Rotor Program to practically everyone else!) and numerous electronics companies that *used to be* profitable and responsive until they were sold off to foreign "investors"...

  46. Andy 97

    Wot, no rail gun?

    This announcement is brought to you by the Number 10 press relations department.

  47. Pete 8
    Paris Hilton


    Fair, is it guv, all we got is these here rubber band powered slings, with ping pong balls for projectile.

    I want one of those scopes to get a closer look at Paris.

  48. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    A Bitter Pill to Swallow ..... for Relief

    "Admittedly this is much less common nowadays with the shift from Northern Ireland to Afghanistan." ..... And what is the Active Role of the Military Minded in a Peaceful Civilisation and New Executive Administration/Legislative Assembly as is Northern Ireland. Does Peace produce a Problem for Military Engagement and Render their Services Redundant and Destructive?

  49. The First Dave

    @Ian Ferguson

    Why did you have to drag Israel into this conversation?

    If we are being fair, the big issue over there was caused by the British (and friends) telling one bunch of people it was perfectly okay for them to take control over a land that was already inhabited. Pointing the finger at the Israelis for throwing tear gas and rubber bullets at kids throwing petrol bombs, and sending tanks looking for rocket-launch sites is a ridiculous over-simplification of the situation.

  50. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    What do you call a Gambler who never Blushes? *

    "The rest of you - try and be sort of nice and only throw soft objects, please. " ..... By Sarah Bee Posted Thursday 10th September 2009 13:05 GMT

    urStar Wish ... Our Command, Sarah Bee, in Godisagoddess Circles Round Tables.

    "Also, War is a nessasary evil. Some people cannot be talked too, and war happens when all else has failed." ... By Paul 4 Posted Thursday 10th September 2009 13:45 GMT

    Wow. That was Zealous. War is Unnecessary. All people can be talked to and war happens whenever nothing spectacularly new is tried, is the Riposte Repost Response.

    "oh, and no, i'm not french. hehe. i'm a citizen of earth who presently resides in England. i'm actually an african originally from Zimbabwe." .... By Sillyfellow Posted Thursday 10th September 2009 14:31 GMT

    And is that as an Alien in a Foreign LAN, Sillyfellow, Garnering Valuable Insight for Mutual Intelligence in the Role of Virtual Viral Messenger and Global Operating Device?

    Or is that too John Le Carré Perfect? It is a Reality Possibility Nevertheless, such is the BroadBandCommunications Facility Today.

    *A Bluffer

  51. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Titanic NIRobotIQs .... for Home Grown Artificial IntelAIgents .....

    ..... Holywood Style, Impossibly Stealthy.

    Bombardier build some spooky executive business fly by wire ware nowadays ....

    Is IT a Ship or is IT a Plane?

    I Bet you they could build a Mean CyberIntelAIgents Centre .... for Virtual Communications Hubs/SMARTer Enabled Nodes/Free Radicals Partnering in Progress to Higher Levels of Gracious Confusion. :-)

    Is that what Loughside is/is to be? .... Surely anything else will cause Unnecessary Friction and Suspicion and Virtual Conflict, which would be AIMadness and thus is Immediately Dismissed as Perfectly Unsuitable.

  52. Anonymous Coward

    "we need an end to all this senseless killing. regardless of any rhyme or reason."

    No we don't. For a start- while rhyme has nothing to do with it, Reason says that if we accept that our lives aren't worthless then we should defend them. If you consider your life worthless then please feel free to end it- it's one less polluter, one less person to defend, one less car on the road to run over someone useful.*

    So we should be prepared for those who would attack us.

    If they attack us we should defend ourselves, and if they continue to attack even after we've defended ourselves non-lethally then we should step up our response. You wouldn't take a life you say? What if you kept throwing someone to the floor but couldn't restrain them- and every time they'd just keep coming back at you, getting closer and closer to your family? What if they were particularly sadistic and would rape and kill your entire family in front of you before letting you go and handing you a gun? Would you forgive them then, or shoot the bastard?

    Going to war because we're bored is a bad thing. Iraq seems like a pretty bad idea- they'd not done anything to us recently and IIRC didn't even harbour the flavour-of-the-day terrorists.

    Afghanistan started as a good idea- there were people there who wanted to kill us. And said so. And proved their resolve to kill us. So getting rid of them was a good idea. The problem is that we spent years arming them and telling them to kill the invaders when those invaders were against us...

    And as others have said, if we're going to have war then we should protect and kit out our guys as well as possible.

    And thanks to my being protected from terrorism by the terrorists being blown to smithereens, I'm off to have a beer.

    *Actually, don't. You're not worthless- no-one is. Everyone can do something and no problems are insurmountable. Trust me- I'm an Engineer and pretty damn good at solving problems. If you do feel like ending it all, people like the Samaritans can help get you feel more positive.

  53. Seán

    Best "Here's looking at you." ever

    I applaud Quality captioning when I see it, but I no longer shout at people because all life is suffering and there's no bloody point.

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