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Armoured Vehicles

Volume 450: debated on Monday 16 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reasons he prefers the Pinzgauer Vector armoured vehicles in Afghanistan to the Cougar; and if he will make a statement. (91676)

The Vector and Cougar vehicles provide different capabilities.

The Pinzgauer Vector vehicle is agile and highly mobile over a range of terrains including rugged terrain. It is particularly suitable for the long range patrols, which are a feature of operations in Afghanistan. We also currently plan, however, to deploy a number of upgraded Cougar vehicles (known as Mastiff), which is a heavier and larger vehicle, to provide commanders with a wider choice of vehicles.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the (a) Cougar and (b) Vector will be sent to Afghanistan and Iraq. (92319)

We are procuring around 100 Cougar vehicles and are on schedule to deliver an Initial Operational Capability to Iraq by the end of the year. We are also on schedule to deliver an Initial Operational Capability of the Pinzgauer Vector vehicle to Afghanistan by the end of January 2007.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans are there to introduce the SG31 as a replacement for the snatch Landrover. (92321)

I announced in my statement on 24 July 2006, Official Report, column 74WS, the procurement of almost 400 vehicles with improved protection for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan, including Mastiff (also known as Cougar), Vector and up-armoured FV430. These will provide commanders with a range of vehicles of varying protection, mobility and profile, to be used according to operational circumstances. We have no plans to procure RG-31.