Belgium’s army is forced to use drivers no taller than 5ft 7in
By Ryan Fahey For Mailonline
Published: 16:10 GMT, 20 December 2019 | Updated: 17:48 GMT, 20 December 2019
An expensive upgrade to a fleet of armoured vehicles in Belgium will disqualify most soldiers from using it because the modifications have drastically reduced the size of the interior.
With some of the tallest people in the world, an average Belgian man measures 5ft 10in but the internal cabin will hold no one above 5ft 7in.
In a drive to improve safety of their fleet of 44 Pandur armoured cars, the Belgian military spent £26 million but made them too small.
One of the upgraded Pandur APCs can be seen in an undated photo from the Belgian Defence Ministry website. In a drive to improve safety of their fleet of 44 Pandur armoured vehicles, the Belgian military spent £26 million but significantly reduced the size of the interior chamber
A soldier navigates an Austrian Pandur panzer at an Austrian military base in Innsbruck, Austria July 5, 2017
Public broadcaster VRT announced the height blunder in a report that the military did not contest.
The modifications were an attempt to improve the vehicle’s safety with additional outer protection against landmines, a heightened floor and air conditioning for hot environments.
In the process, they created ‘a very serious nuisance’ and ‘the raised floor makes getting in and out very difficult’, according to VRT.
On hearing of the specification error, politicians were quick to condemn the military’s actions.
A Green MEP, Wouter De Vriendt, said it was like launching money out of the window.
In response, the Belgian ministry admitted that the Pandur’s were unusable in their current state. They said there were still more modifications to be made before the convoy would be operational.
Four Austrian Pandur panzers are pictured at an Austrian military base in Innsbruck, Austria July 5, 2017
Belgian Defence Head of Systems, Yves Dupont, said that Pandurs have always had a height limitation and that 5ft 7in was not uncommon.
The defence ministry said they were still to pay the entirety of the cost for the upgrade, according to the BBC.
The Pandur fleet was purchased from Austria in 1996 and was originally designed to move units on the battle field.
They were later used for reconnaissance.
Belgian Defence say that the vehicle holds nine people and can travel safely over tricky terrain.
Published at Fri, 20 Dec 2019 17:48:09 +0000
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