A senior Army officer called the £7 million procurement of 75 unarmoured vehicles 'a belated April Fool joke'.
The MoD have issued a contract to supply the £93,000-a-time Springers which are built around a similar frame to a golf buggy.
They are being used in Afghanistan to move combat supplies from helicopter landing sites to patrol bases. Quad bikes, costing just £20,000, had been doing the job. The Springer is designed to be used in any terrain. But they're not armoured and therefore cannot be used in areas where there may be bombs. Andrew Tyler, chief operating officer for MoD Defence Equipment and Support, claimed the contract 'demonstrates that we're continuing to invest in vehicles for the frontline'.
How anyone can substantiate tarting up a golf buggy frame and selling the result for £93,000 defeats me. The Springer was produced by Derbyshire-based Enhanced Protection Systems (EPS) and is designed specifically for rugged, desert conditions.
David Cameron has convened a secret meeting of military experts, ministers and Tory MPs at Chequers to review strategy on Afghanistan amid growing signs of division over the mission's objectives.
The meeting will be on Tuesday and also be attended by members of the new National Security Council.
Government officials stressed last night that they were not anticipating any dramatic change of policy although it is reported that there is increasing scepticism in both political and military circles over whether some of the original objectives in Afghanistan are achievable.
Denis McShane, writing in today's Observer, says it is time to end the 'blood sacrifice' of British soldiers and calls for them to be brought home.
"The White House is clearly looking for an exit strategy," the Labour MP says.
The Tory MP and former infantry officer Patrick Mercer said: "There are huge questions that need to be asked on foreign and development policy and difficult questions that need to be made in the current economic climate."
It's pleasing to see more than lip-service being paid to the war in Afghanistan by the new Westminster government.