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BL755 Cluster Munition

Volume 449: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment he has made of (a) the failure rate of the BL755 cluster munition and (b) its reliability for use in combat situations; (83981)

(2) by what method his Department assesses BL755 failure rates; and if he will make a statement;

(3) whether the classified reports which support the Department's assessment of the failure rate for the BL755 cluster munition contain evidence derived from combat use;

(4) whether an assessment has been made of the failure rate for the BL755 cluster munition based solely on evidence from combat use.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 17 March 2006, Official Report, column 2515W, to my hon. Friend for Stroud (Mr. Drew).

Information on the failure rate of the BL755 cluster bomb used by the RAF is collected during regular in-service surveillance trials. These trials are carried out by the Design Organisation (Lockheed Martin UK Insys Ltd.) on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.

The results of these trials are used to confirm the reliability of the BL755 cluster bomb for operational use. Some analysis of the accuracy and performance of BL755 cluster bombs used during operations has been undertaken; however, the reliability of individual weapons was not specifically addressed as part of this analysis.