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Cluster Munition

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 29 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the current failure rate is for each type of cluster munition. [109682]

Weapons containing cluster munitions are currently in service with the Army and Royal Air Force. The Army systems consist of (a) Shell 155mm HE Extended Range Bomblet Shell (ERBS) which has a proven maximum bomblet failure rate of 2 per cent. and (b) Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) M26 bomblets which have a failure rate, between 5 per cent. and 10 per cent. The failure rate is largely dependant on ground conditions and range.

The RAF system consists of the BL755 cluster bomb; recent statistics show an overall failure rate of 6 per cent. in line with expectations. We have previously stated a failure rate for the BL755 of "approximately 5 per cent."; the figure has now increased not because the weapon is less reliable but because the parameters used to compile the statistics have changed.