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Bosnia (Ambush)

Volume 227: debated on Tuesday 22 June 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress is being made in equipping AFVs deployed in Bosnia with state-of-the-art surveillance systems to counter threats of ambush; and if he will make a statement.

The armoured vehicles deployed in Bosnia are already fitted with sophisticated surveillance systems, but we keep the situation under review to ensure that the personnel deployed have the equipment most appropriate to their role and environmental conditions.

Is my hon. Friend aware that Pilkington Optronics in my constituency designed and fitted the thermal observation and gunnery sight—TOGS—to the Chieftain and Challenger tanks, which performed so well in the Gulf war? Is he further aware that Pilkington has offered to fit the TOGS system to the Scimitar AFV, which is currently deployed in Bosnia, at a very reasonable price?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend; any saving is helpful. The TOGS proposal is one of the ideas considered as part of the life-extension programme for tracked combat reconnaissance vehicles. We already have very sophisticated equipment in them, including thermal image sights, which can be fitted on top of the commander's sight. Troops are also issued with image intensifying night vision goggles. The Scimitar family of vehicles will be upgraded in due course.