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M85 Sub-munitions

Volume 455: debated on Friday 26 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what research he has evaluated on the failure rate of M85 sub-munitions; and if he will change the classification of L20A1 munitions from not dumb. (117157)

All munitions undergo rigorous and comprehensive testing prior to entering service and are subject to regular in-service trials once they become part of the UK stockpile.

The trials indicate that the current failure rate of the M85 remains within acceptable service bounds, although we continue to explore ways of reducing this failure rate further, in partnership with the Prime Contractor, BAE Systems Land Systems Munitions.

The M85 sub-munition is fitted with a self-destruct mechanism, and therefore the L20A1 shell which contains M85 sub-munitions is not regarded by the UK as being a ‘dumb cluster munition’. As a result, we have no current plans to change its classification.