Land Rover bosses there are "no implications" to the Ministry of Defence's order of 157 heavily armoured Ridgback 4x4s to replace ageing Land Rovers in war zones.The vehicles have been ordered as a response to the increasing number of roadside bomb casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. Land Rover's director of corporate affairs, Don Hume, said: "There's no comparison between the two vehicles. One weighs four tons; the other weighs 12 tons. The [Snatch Land Rover] will continue to fulfil a role. It's still a popular vehicle."The American-built Ridgback trucks will be deployed in combat areas from next year. They should afford troops greater protection from mines than the elderly Defenders currently is use, and are said to be more manoeuvrable and reliable. Ridgbacks have significantly more armour plating and are larger than the Land Rovers. Weapons include heavy duty and general-purpose machine guns, grenade launchers and some will be fitted with a remote control system, allowing soldiers to operate the weapons from a joystick. The new Ridgbacks are just one element of the MoD’s £150 million fleet overhaul – an investment that critics have been calling for since war broke out in Iraq. The ‘Pitbull’ armoured personnel carrier has already been rolled out to troops in Afghanistan, again replacing armoured Land Rovers. Meanwhile the Ridgback’s larger Mastiff sibling continues to phase out the Snatch Land Rover. “The Mastiffs have saved lives out in theatre and we have ordered the Ridgback because it is a smaller version of the Mastiff – offering our forces first rate protection with more manoeuvrability,” commented Defence Secretary Des Brown. Currently the new Ridgbacks are being fitted with their weapons and communications systems. Troops will be trained to use the vehicles before they go into combat.