Significant steps have been taken to improve the army's Warrior vehicles in the wake of the deaths of six soldiers in Afghanistan, a coroner said today, as he ruled they were unlawfully killed.
Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, and Privates Anthony Frampton, 20, Daniel Wade, 20, Christopher Kershaw, 19, and Daniel Wilford, 21, all died when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated under their Warrior in Helmand Province on March 6 2012.
The vehicle was patrolling with another Warrior when it was blown up about 25 miles north of the capital of Helmand, Lashkar Gah, bringing the biggest single loss of life for British forces in Afghanistan since an RAF Nimrod crash killed 14 people in September 2006.
It was very sombre listening. This was going through the worst single loss of life in Afghanistan since 2001 - an attack on this Warrior vehicle, about 25 miles north of Lashkar Gah while they were out on patrol. It instantly killed six soldiers.
They were Sergeant Nigel Coupe, from the 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, and five other soldiers from The Yorkshire Regiment's 3rd Battalion - Corporal Jake Hartley, Private Anthony Frampton, Private Christopher Kershaw, who was just 19, Private Daniel Wade, Private Daniel Wilford.
The court heard that they left at about dusk. At 6.30pm, the surveillance balloon that would have given aerial surveillance of the immediate area around the base had been down because of a sandstorm but nevertheless they went out on patrol.
We heard from Major Colver, who was a commander on the base, saying that he was entirely confident that it was the right thing to do for them to go out at that time of night. He said that they trained for this.
Major Nelson then gave evidence, the expert on Warrior vehicles from the army. He said that the Warriors had been upgraded, that they can always build a bigger bomb and it was a very large device.
He said: "No vehicle we have is designed to take that and the effects were far worse than we anticipated."
As a result of this tragedy there have been changes to the design of the Warrior - strengthening of its armour, of its fire extinguisher and a burn resistant fuel tank included as well.
The inquest will continue this afternoon.
An inquest into the deaths of six soldiers killed when their tank exploded after hitting a Taliban roadside bomb in Afghanistan in March 2012 is expected to end today.
It was the single deadliest attack on UK forces in Afghanistan since 2001.
From top left: Sergeant Nigel Coupe, Corporal Jake Hartley and Private Anthony Frampton.
From bottom left: Private Christopher Kershaw, Private Daniel Wade and Private Daniel Wilford.
The Warrior, known by the callsign K12, was patrolling with another vehicle when it was hit by improvised explosive device about 25 miles north of the capital of Helmand, Lashkar Gah.
The inquest into the death of six soldiers killed when the Warrior tank they were travelling in exploded, is due to conclude today.
Coroners heard evidence from the Major in charge of the doomed operation and soldiers who were driving behind the armoured vehicle before it hit a Taliban roadside bomb and exploded.
Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, and Privates Anthony Frampton, 20, Christopher Kershaw, 19, Daniel Wade, 20, and Daniel Wilford, 21, were all killed in Helmand on a delayed patrol in March last year.
Witnesses dubbed the explosion a "fireball" and said they cold hear ammunition ignite and bullets ricocheting around the tank.
The two-day inquest is expected to conclude today.