New lasers are to be fitted on British army rifles, allowing soldiers to pinpoint targets up to 800 metres away.

The Laser Light Module MK 3 will be fitted on to SA80 rifles, as part of a £53 million equipment overhaul.

In addition, the Ministry of Defence has invested in more than 4,000 additional head mounted night visibility kits for reserve soldiers, and 15,000 pairs of binoculars, 50% lighter than previous models.

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne said: "These binoculars, laser-aimers and night-vision goggles will improve situational awareness and reduce collateral damage across the battlefield."

Former US defence secretary Robert Gates recently claimed that cuts to UK military staff levels meant that the UK may no longer be able to serve as a "full spectrum" military partner to the US.

Last month, General Sir Nicolas Houghton, the chief of the defence staff, warned that Britain was in danger of being left with a hollowed out military, with "exquisite equipment" but a severe lack of personnel.