Frontline Battle Machines with Mike Brewer takes a unique look into the life of soldiers and their machinery in the field of battle. Across the series, you will see first-hand how technology has transformed the modern battlefield as Mike meets the men and women who operate the equipment under hostile conditions. Each show features three to four key items of equipment, exploring The Weapons, The Vehicles and The Aircraft used by British and Allied troops today, and Mike personally tests each machine or weapon on various stages of his incredible journey from Camp Bastion to the Front Line.
Mike Brewer heads out from the RAF's Brize Norton air base in Oxfordshire, 4,000 miles to the front line in Afghanistan.
His mission: To test out front line battle machinery currently being used by British forces in their struggle against the Taliban.
He wants to find out whether British and American manufactured kit is really up to the job.
His two-month journey will see him drive, fly and fire some of the most fearsome and sophisticated weaponry currently in operation and bring him into direct contact with the enemy.
In this episode, Mike flies into a fire-fight with Taliban forces in a Chinook helicopter and comes within a hair’s breadth of death.
Mike travels out from Camp Bastion to the Forward Operation Base, Musa Qal’eh - the most northern point of the front line in Helmand Province.
This British stronghold has been amongst the most fiercely contested of all Afghan territory. It was held until 2006 until a deal was brokered with Afghan elders. After a few months the Taliban took it over and held it until December 2007.
Mike joins the troops, as they embark on one of the biggest British offensive of the war – Operation Moshtarak – and head deep into enemy territory to destroy key Taliban strongholds and establish Allied patrol bases.
He gets to test out the equipment being used to counter the Taliban’s most potent weapon, the Improvised Explosive Device (I.E.D), and gets up close and personal with the new British mine clearance vehicle, Trojan.
Mike joins a supply convoy headed for the frontline won from the Taliban only days before. On the way he looks at the Mastiff patrol vehicle and the Hercules.
One of the most contentious equipment issues of the war so far is body armour and personal firearms like the SA80.
Mike finds out from the men in the firing line just how good their kit is and goes to the factories to find out if the body armour really can stop a bullet.
Mike also gets to fulfil one of his greatest ambitions by driving a Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle.
Mike takes a flight in one of the most versatile, state-of-the-art helicopters, the Merlin, into the heart of one of the most fiercely contested regions of Helmand: The Kajaki Dam.
The Taliban are desperate to win it back from the Allies but supply flights like the one Mike is on ensure that Allied troops have the resources they need to keep the enemy at bay.
Mike tests out the armoured patrol vehicle, the LPV400, considered as a replacement for the most controversial and highly publicised combat vehicle on the front line: the Snatch Land Rover or Vixen.
Over the past 7 years, in Iraq and Afghanistan, more British troops have been killed in the Snatch than in any other vehicle.
Is the SPV400 the answer to one of the biggest problems facing the British mission?
The highlights of Mike’s unique trip into the warzone: The Medical Emergency Rescue Mission in the Chinook in which he nearly lost his life, his once-in-a-lifetime outing behind the controls of a Warrior Tank, the remote controlled Bomb diffuser used to take on the I.E.Ds, the flight in a Merlin helicopter he takes to the Kajaki Dam, and the formidable 105mm gun he tests out, used by British troops to fire shells deep into enemy territory.
For the first time, Mike tries out all the weapons on the frontline to find out whether they’re up to the job.