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Volume 459: debated on Friday 20 April 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what munitions testing has been undertaken of the ERBS M85 cluster bomb; and what the failure rate is of the self-destruct mechanism. (131014)

[holding answer 18 April 2007]: There have been a number of trials of the 155 mm L20A1 Extended Range Bomblet Shell, which contains M85 bomblets. When the totality of test and acceptance firings is analysed over the life of the munition, the average bomblet failure rate is approximately 2 per cent. As part of its ongoing quality and performance regime the MOD continues to actively monitor the performance of this system and explore ways of reducing the failure rate still further in partnership with the supplier.