London, Feb.8 (ANI): British troops deployed in war-ravaged Afghanistan are fighting the Taliban in outdated body armour, and the blame for this can go to the Ministry of Defence, which has been accused of botching a 16-million-pound deal.
The blunder emerged as senior officers warned that Britain must "steel itself" for mass casualties in a major new offensive in Afghanistan.
The defence ministry ordered 10,000 lightweight body armour kits designed to give Our Boys freer movement. But the thinner ballistic plates in the chest and back failed to meet stringent safety standards after being declared fit for purpose.
Troops have now been forced to put their old heavy plates in the new vests - and peel off a protective rubber coating because the fit is so tight.
The bungle comes as Top Brass said they hope Operation Moshtarak - the biggest coalition push of the eight-year Afghan conflict - will break the back of the Taliban.
Brave troops are preparing to finally drive the insurgents from central Helmand in a series of high-risk raids.
Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth yesterday warned there was a "very real risk" of casualties.
The Osprey Assault kits were meant to replace the old Osprey body armour after troops said it was heavy and restrictive in fire-fights.
They have two plates that sit in the vest to protect vital organs. The plates originally passed safety tests. But during "batch" testing manufacturers discovered too many failed to meet standards so they were ditched. (ANI)