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Body armour compensation claim

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Body armour compensation claim

Old 19th Feb 2022, 14:23
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Body armour compensation claim

This has just popped up on the Telegraph website.

Former RAF helicopter pilot suing MoD for damages, claiming heavy body armour ruined his private life

Louis Warburton was forced to wear 20-kilogram body armour when flying Chinook helicopters during the UN-backed operation in Mali
By Patrick Sawer, Senior News Reporter and Sarah Limbrick 19 February 2022 • 2:41pm An RAF Chinook helicopter in action Credit: PA A former RAF helicopter pilot who flew in peacekeeping missions in Mali is suing the Ministry of Defence for damages, claiming the heavy body armour he had to wear ruined his personal life.

Louis Warburton was forced to wear 20-kilogram body armour when flying Chinook helicopters during the UN-backed Operation Newcombe, which he says pressed against his thighs, damaging his sciatic and femoral nerves, causing intense pain and numbness.

He was medically discharged from the RAF and says that the pain has affected his daily activities, including his sex life with his partner.

Difficulty sleeping

Documents submitted by his legal team at Irwin Mitchell state: “[His] continuing symptoms curtailed his ability to undertake his normal RAF duties, and he has [been], and remains, restricted in his domestic activities. He has difficulty sleeping due to on-going pain and his activities of daily living, including his personal life with his partner, have been adversely affected.”

Mr Warburton claims MOD negligently failed to provide suitable and reasonably safe personal protective equipment, and says the armour was so heavy it damaged his soft tissues.

In legal papers lodged with the High Court he also claims the MOD negligently provided armour that was so poorly adjusted it hindered his movements and function as a pilot, and did not allow him full vision of the instrument panel.

It is also alleged that the MoD failed to carry out a risk assessment, failed to provide a safe system and place of work, failed to act on his complaints, and that he was not shown how to adjust the armour so that the protective plates did not press on his thighs.

Mr Warburton, 30, a former Flight Lieutenant with 18 Squadron at RAF Odiham, is suing the MoD for more than £200,000 in compensation.

Heavy body armour

The 30-year-old, from Hook, Hampshire, joined the RAF in 2010 and was deployed to Mali in early 2019, providing military assistance to the French army as part of the the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation mission.

Mr Warburton had to wear the Load Carriage System body armour on all Chinook flights and claims that as a result he could not move in his seat, and his legs remained flexed during long flights of up to 8 hours.

He claims the armour was overly bulky, excessively heavy, ill-fitting, and inadequately adjusted, making him lean forwards in his set which made the front ceramic plates press against his thighs.

Mr Warburton says he had to sit in an unconventional position, which hurt his lower back and buttocks, and that he was not allowed to remove the backplate from the body armour until about half-way through his deployment.

Painful condition

He reported his painful condition in January 2019 and was medically downgraded the following July, but says he continued to suffer problems.

On his return to the UK later that year, he said he could not sit on chairs or drive a vehicle without pain and has been left unable to carry out many simple domestic activities or to apply for many jobs.

An MOD spokesperson said: “The health and safety of our personnel is our foremost priority on both training and operations. It would be inappropriate to comment further as this is an ongoing case.”

Whitehall sources said that all compensation claims are considered on the basis of whether or not the MoD has a legal liability to pay compensation and that "where there is a proven liability compensation is paid".
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Old 19th Feb 2022, 15:22
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Gentlemen concerned has my support.

BALCS is easily the most poorly designed, un egonomic bit of kit I have ever had to use. Not designed with a cockpit in mind. can’t get full cyclic movement, sits on top of your legs and gentleman area, forces you forward in the seat, most pilots rip the cushions out in order to get enough leg room. A shambles. Start to finish.
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Old 19th Feb 2022, 15:49
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MOD Civil Servant. "It's body armour. What more do you want?" Totally ignoring the fact the average squaddie doesn't spend hours sitting in a helicopter seat.. Design one suitable for helicopters? File under "too difficult"
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Old 19th Feb 2022, 16:10
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Originally Posted by Herod View Post
MOD Civil Servant. "It's body armour. What more do you want?" Totally ignoring the fact the average squaddie doesn't spend hours sitting in a helicopter seat.. Design one suitable for helicopters? File under "too difficult"
You may not understand the concept of design review and customer acceptance. Someone on the Chinook force must have said it was fit for purpose, same as someone said the infantry version was. I don't know about the RAF but the requirements managers for our kit were Majors and half Colonels, and they signed the design reviews before the civvy project manager added his moniker.
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Old 19th Feb 2022, 16:59
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The question is was it optional to wear it, because if it was they could argue he didn’t have to wear it, it was his choice. Is it similar to the Puma items?
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Old 19th Feb 2022, 19:09
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Originally Posted by Herod View Post
MOD Civil Servant. "It's body armour. What more do you want?" Totally ignoring the fact the average squaddie doesn't spend hours sitting in a helicopter seat.. Design one suitable for helicopters? File under "too difficult"
Everyone complain. Nobody LISTEN.
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Old 19th Feb 2022, 19:16
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Says he wasn't shown how to adjust it so it didn't press against his thighs. Was he scared of Squippers or something?
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Old 20th Feb 2022, 07:20
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We set off for GW1 in our trusty RAF C130 without RWR or any other special kit including body armour. Our solution was to lift the seat cushions and put a coiled 10000 lb chain on the seat pan and replace cushion. Well you have to do something !
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Old 20th Feb 2022, 07:50
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
The question is was it optional to wear it, because if it was they could argue he didn’t have to wear it, it was his choice. Is it similar to the Puma items?
PPE is definitely not optional! And even if it was, forcing a choice between wearing body armour with risk of permanent injury, and not wearing body armour when going on live ops is definitely not a thing...

Also, the article notes that some way through the det he was given permission to remove the back plate, implying again that the rest of the kit was not optional.
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Old 20th Feb 2022, 09:03
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There’s quite an involved process to clear Kit as suitable for flight. SME aircrew, RAFCAM, AES & platform PT(s) should all have been involved at some point. If it was that bad I’d be amazed if cockpit integrations didn’t show this as being unsuitable, if that was the case, why was it put into use? UOR? Did the scale/weight of kit carried change between UK and deployed Ops? As for not being shown how to wear and adjust it, one would hope the squippers and to some extent the local SERE training team would have taken care of that one before the aircrews got to theatre.

Last edited by Stitchbitch; 20th Feb 2022 at 09:20.
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Old 20th Feb 2022, 12:05
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I’m impressed that “daily activities” include “sex life” …………

hat ……. coat ……… taxi for Teeters…..
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Old 20th Feb 2022, 12:42
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Originally Posted by teeteringhead View Post
I’m impressed that “daily activities” include “sex life” …………

hat ……. coat ……… taxi for Teeters…..
He's thirty, mate. At my age now getting bollocked by the missus counts as a tick.
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Old 21st Feb 2022, 08:54
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On my first detachment, I was given a waistcoat type item with heavy plates inside. I rocked up to the cab looking like the dashing war hero to be promptly told that one didn't wear it - one sat on it! Apparently, the famous and much missed 'Chunky' Lord had a bullet come through the floor of the Whirlwind 10 and it is alleged to have lodged in his cheeks (not the ones on his face - the other ones!!).

Old Duffer
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Old 21st Feb 2022, 09:19
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Old-Duffer. I believe there was one other who had a bullet come up the side of the plating on a Wessex in Aden. Also a "cheek-hit". The under-seat plate on the Wessex was RHS only. If riding LHS, the choice was to wear the flak-jacket, and take the risk to your married life, or sit on it, and reduce the risk slightly.
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Old 21st Feb 2022, 13:33
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Old-Duffer. I believe there was one other who had a bullet come up the side of the plating on a Wessex in Aden. Also a "cheek-hit".
Was that Alan Brew??
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Old 21st Feb 2022, 16:21
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I wasn't going to name names. Apparently just before his wedding and he "limped manfully up the aisle". I hasten to add this is all second-hand; I arrived in Aden after the supposed incident.
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Old 22nd Feb 2022, 07:56
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Originally Posted by Stitchbitch View Post
There’s quite an involved process to clear Kit as suitable for flight. SME aircrew, RAFCAM, AES & platform PT(s) should all have been involved at some point. If it was that bad I’d be amazed if cockpit integrations didn’t show this as being unsuitable, if that was the case, why was it put into use? UOR? Did the scale/weight of kit carried change between UK and deployed Ops? As for not being shown how to wear and adjust it, one would hope the squippers and to some extent the local SERE training team would have taken care of that one before the aircrews got to theatre.

Well said, Bitch!

You are right it ‘SHOULD’ have happened. However, with over 25 years experience in the integration of little pink bodies into weapons systems and the procurement of AEA, I doubt that it was. For what it’s worth, it is my opinion that the bean counters have been chipping away at those essentially costly processes since the VSOs screwed the wider ‘airworthiness’ system back in the 90s. Safety compromised by economy?

Want to know more? David Hill’s book ‘Breaking the Military Covenant’ is worthwhile, if uncomfortable, read.

Also…. The recent Netflix documentary ‘Downfall - the case against Boeing’ (re:737max) shows what happens to ‘Quality’ when cost concerns override.
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Old 22nd Feb 2022, 11:42
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Originally Posted by oldmansquipper View Post
Well said, Bitch!

You are right it ‘SHOULD’ have happened. However, with over 25 years experience in the integration of little pink bodies into weapons systems and the procurement of AEA, I doubt that it was. For what it’s worth, it is my opinion that the bean counters have been chipping away at those essentially costly processes since the VSOs screwed the wider ‘airworthiness’ system back in the 90s. Safety compromised by economy?

Want to know more? David Hill’s book ‘Breaking the Military Covenant’ is worthwhile, if uncomfortable, read.

Also…. The recent Netflix documentary ‘Downfall - the case against Boeing’ (re:737max) shows what happens to ‘Quality’ when cost concerns override.
I have to agree. The Netflix programme is a repeat of the Nimrod Review. And the book has a good mixture of well-known cases and (to me) completely unheard of ones which is a real eyeopener, especially in the way they are linked together. No lessons learned.
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Old 22nd Feb 2022, 13:50
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Dervish.

Re: ‘No lessons learned’

At the end of my career in blue, we (in the Squipper Eng Authority) were told by their ‘airships’ that the phrase ‘lessons learned’ was not to be used in any of our report writing. We were allowed to use the phrase ‘Lessons identified’.

I resisted the temptation to add ‘…..and can be ignored’

hey ho.
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Old 22nd Feb 2022, 14:07
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Originally Posted by trim it out View Post
Says he wasn't shown how to adjust it so it didn't press against his thighs. Was he scared of Squippers or something?
Interesting if true.
We've just been issued with Virtus and had to attend mandatory lessons on how to put it together, adjust and use it all.
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