Wednesday, November 15, 2006

BRD outbreak rages!

David Axe is out with the Queen's Royal Hussars group again, and he is still in the grip of raging Brit Romanticisation Disorder. Please, enough with the Lawrence of Arabia stuff. Or, well, get a room, or a secluded tent at least.

More seriously, he's impressed by the tactics and the determination to keep the support structure and insult to society to a minimum. Very wise, I agree. But it gives little sense of security. The weekend's IED attack on a boat in central Basra, with four dead, shows a continuing deterioration of security in southern Iraq. The explosion occurred not far from the Old State Building camp, under a pontoon bridge - it should surely be worrying that bombs get under one of the main bridges over the Shatt al-Arab. Last week, another soldier was shot by a sniper inside the same camp. The zone of insecurity is widening.

So how is the C-130 explosion-suppressant foam getting on? When Labouchere calls for stores or reinforcement that won't fit in a Merlin chopper, one of the RAF's Hercules fleet makes a tactical landing at a flat bit of desert chosen by the troops and makes off as swiftly as possible. So far, after the aircrews' rebellion over the loss of XV179, there are a total of 2 Hercules with the foam installed. The problem is that Marshall Aerospace in Cambridge has done the sort of thing your dad did with that IKEA wardrobe with the first plane.

They got the foam in there all right, but they had some trouble getting the plane back together. I'm not informed whether there were any bits left over, but when they tried to fill the tanks, deliciously inflammable kerosene drifted out of sloppy cracks and soaked the whole thing. A wee spark would have fieryd-up the ship and all who sailed in her.

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