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Armoured Vehicles

Volume 451: debated on Tuesday 7 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what factors were taken into account in selecting the Cougar armoured vehicle; and what other products were considered. (92320)

To meet the requirement for a medium protected patrol vehicle, a number of factors were taken into consideration. These included mine protection, vehicle capacity and payload, and the ability to be modified to meet the demanding UK protection requirements in the fastest possible time.

A wide range of vehicles were briefly considered but discounted because we judged that they could not be modified to meet the UK requirement in the necessary timescale. Three options were considered in detail: the ADI Bushmaster, the BAES OMC RG-31 and the Cougar, which is manufactured by Force Protection Inc. The Cougar was selected and will be known as MASTIFF when in service with the United Kingdom armed forces.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 9 October 2006, Official Report, column 176W, on armoured vehicles, what his most recent assessment is of the annual running costs of the Warrior in wartime usage; and if he will make a statement. (94896)

Operating costs for armoured vehicle fleets are calculated on peacetime usage, and based on an average cost per kilometre. The full capitation cost for the Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle (all variants) for financial year 2006-07 is calculated as £154.04 per kilometre. Specific mileage data on operations is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether any RG-31 armoured vehicles are (a) owned and (b) leased by his Department; (97981)

(2) what the maintenance problems were which led to the RG-31 being withdrawn from service following deployments in Bosnia.

The RG-31 Mamba was procured in the mid-late 1990s to meet Urgent Operational Requirements for specialist vehicles for use by the Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams in the Balkans. It was replaced in service by the Mine Protected Vehicle in 2001-02. The RG31 Mamba suffered from safety and reliability problems caused by the additional weight of the appliqué armour affecting the vehicle’s steering and braking systems. These problems were exacerbated by a lack of commonality between the vehicles, which were bought in three separate batches, and poor availability of spare parts.

The MOD does not own or lease any RG-31 armoured vehicles and currently has no plans to do so.