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Future Rapid Effects System

Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) when the British Army will have its initial operating capability with the Future Rapid Effects System; [130407](2) for what reason funding for the Future Rapid Effects System Assessment Phase Planning work has ceased; what the expenditure on this work has been to date; and how the results of this work will be used in the Future Rapid Effects System programme; [130408](3) what the next phase of the Future Rapid Effect System project will be; what assessment he has made of the advantages of the next phase being led by

(a) Alvis Vickers Ltd. and (b) a company other than Alvis Vickers Ltd.; and how long he expects it would take to select a contractor other than Alvis Vickers Ltd. through competitive tender; [130410]

(4) what the size was of the co-located industrial Future Rapid Effect System team made up of personnel from Alvis Vickers, BAE Systems and General Dynamics UK in July; and what assessment he has made of the effect on British industry if the next phase of FRES were to be awarded to (a) Alvis Vickers and (b) a company other than Alvis Vickers. [130411]

The project to introduce a Future Rapid Effect System is currently in its concept phase. As part of this, Alvis Vickers Ltd. (AVL) has recently completed background planning work to develop initial estimates of programme schedule and cost. This work involved some 70 staff drawn from AVL, BAE Systems and General Dynamics (UK) Ltd. and was valued at approximately £4 million. The Department is now considering procurement options and will consider all relevant factors in determining the way forward. The ISD for FRES will not be endorsed until the main investment decision, but on current plans, the intention is to introduce early variants into service around the end of the decade.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to award a contract for the demonstration and manufacture phase of the Future Rapid Effect System. [130412]

The project to introduce a Future Rapid Effect System is currently in its Concept phase. The Department is now considering procurement options but no date has yet been fixed for the award of contracts for future phases.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average age is of the British Army fleets of (a) the 430-Series vehicles, (b) CVR(T) and (c) Saxon; and when these vehicles will be replaced by the Future Rapid Effect System. [130413]

The average age of the British Army fleet for the FV430, CVR(T) and Saxon Light Armoured Vehicles is detailed in the table:

VehicleAverage age (years)
FV430 series38
CVR(T)31
Saxon14
An endorsed in-service date for the Future Rapid Effect System (FRES), and the numbers and types of vehicles to be procured as part of the FRES programme, will not be determined until the assessment phase of the programme has been completed. We are therefore currently unable to confirm which in-service vehicles will be replaced by FRES vehicles or when that might occur.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) when and why his Department stopped funding work on FRES Assessment Phase Planning; how much had already been spent on the work; and how it can be used in the further development of the FRES project; [130465](2) what estimate he has made of the overall value of the FRES contract when it is let; how many jobs it can be expected to sustain or generate; and how many jobs would be lost in the UK if the contract were to be awarded overseas. [130466]

The project to introduce a Future Rapid Effect System is currently in its concept phase. Acquisition costs are yet to be established but could be in the region of £6 billion.Industry has undertaken some background planning work, under an Assessment Phase Planning contract valued at approximately £4 million, to develop initial estimates of programme schedule and cost. This work is now complete. The Department is considering procurement options and will have regard to all relevant factors, including industrial issues, in determining the way forward.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment has been made of the Future Rapid Effects System project in relation to (a) security of supply, (b) export potential and (c) industrial capabilities; [130705](2) how much has been spent on the Future Rapid Effects System; [130706](3) whether overseas companies will be invited to bid for a lead role in the Future Rapid Effects System project; [130707](4) whether there has been a change in the projected in-service date of the Future Rapid Effects System; [130708]

(5) what estimate has been made of the number of United Kingdom jobs that will be (a) created and (b) secured by the Future Rapid Effects System project. [130709]

The total value of work done to date in support of concept and planning work on a Future Rapid Effects System (FRES) is approximately £7 million; this includes £4 million for Assessment Phase Planning work carried out by Alvis Vickers Ltd. to develop initial estimates of programme schedule and cost. The Department is now considering procurement options. No decision has yet been reached with regard to commercial arrangements for future phases. All relevant factors will be taken into account in determining the way forward. The ISD for FRES will not be endorsed until the main investment decision, but on current plans, the intention is to introduce early variants into service around the end of the decade.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) when he expects a decision to be made on the awarding of the contract for the Future Rapid Effect System; [130789(2) whether he intends to have the assessment phase of the Future Rapid Effect System conducted by an independent body. [130784]

The Future Rapid Effect System project is in the Concept Phase. We are currently reviewing procurement options and no decision has yet been made on how to take the programme forward. An announcement on the way ahead will be made later in the year.

Number of Ghurkha soldiers who left the service with less than 15 years service1
Reason1997–981998–991999–20002000–012001–022002–03
Left voluntarily000000
Redundant140*0000
Discipline/misconduct***000
Invalided**0000
Completed service201020**0
Death***0**
1Note that all numbers in the data table are rounded to the nearest 10, numbers less than five are represented with a "*" to preserve confidentiality.
Percentage of Ghurkha soldiers who left the service with less than 15 years service
Reason1997–981998–991999–20002000–012001–022002–03
Left voluntarily0.00.00.00.00.00.0
Redundant4.20.10.00.00.00.0
Discipline/misconduct0.10.00.10.00.00.0
Invalided0.10.00.00.00.00.0
Completed Service0.50.20.70.10.10.0
Death0.10.00.00.00.10.0
The 140 personnel shown as redundant in the years 1997–98 reflect the drawdown of the Brigade of Ghurkhas at the time of the handover of Hong Kong in 1997. The Army Personnel Centre have confirmed that they are all in receipt of a service pension.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made with the Future Rapid Effects System; what armoured vehicles will be produced; what roles they will fulfil; and whether the in-service date has changed. [129192]

The project to introduce a Future Rapid Effect System is currently in its concept phase. As part of this phase the Department has been undertaking background planning work in order to inform decisions on how to take the programme forward. The Department is now considering procurement options.Studies planned for the next phase of the programme will determine the make up of the FRES fleet. Only when these studies have been completed will we know what armoured vehicles will be produced and what role they will fulfil in the rapid intervention force.The ISD for FRES will not be endorsed until the main investment decision, but on current plans, the intention is to introduce early variants into service around the end of the decade.