Armoured 4x4s sent to protect Irish soldiers
A small fleet of 'discreet' armoured SUVs have been sent to Afghanistan and Lebanon to protect Irish soldiers serving in the trouble spots.
Seven Irish soldiers are stationed in the Afghan capital Kabul with the Nato-led Isaf force. The city has been the scene of increasingly daring attacks by the Taliban on the US embassy and Nato headquarters.
Three armoured Nissan Patrols, a special version of the 4x4 used by the Defence Forces, are in use by the Irish soldiers, who are mostly bomb-disposal and intelligence experts.
Armoured SUVs are also being used by Irish troops in Unifil where Ireland has a mechanised battalion equipped with Mowag and RG-32M armoured vehicles.
Now the Defence Forces is adding to its armoured SUV fleet with a tender for another vehicle described as an upper mid-size 4x4.
A Defence Forces spokesman said: "It's an armoured 4x4 type specced for deployment either to Unifil, Isaf or other missions with similar IED -- improvised explosive device -- threat or could be used for training purposes if not deployed.
"Similar specced 4x4s are currently deployed in Unifil and Isaf," he said.