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Armed Forces: Footwear

Volume 459: debated on Monday 30 April 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what type of footwear is issued to members of the armed forces as (a) part of their standard kit and (b) when deployed to operations in Iraq; where this footwear is sourced from; and if he will make a statement. (133465)

[holding answer 24 April 2007]: Footwear supplied to the armed forces is of the following types: Combat; Parade/Ceremonial; and Safety Footwear. The standard issue footwear as part of the Combat Soldier 95 ensemble is the Combat Assault Boot.

Troops deploying on operations in Iraq are issued with Desert Combat Boots. Lightweight patrol boots are also available depending on the duties being undertaken in theatre.

Most footwear is sourced through the prime contractor, Iturri, a Spanish footwear manufacturer.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the lifetime of footwear issued to members of the armed forces; how often new footwear is issued to members of the armed forces; and if he will make a statement. (133466)

The life expectancy of footwear varies between each type depending on use and conditions. In broad terms the expectation is: Combat Boots should last between one and five years (although Jungle Boots and Desert Boots may only have a life of six weeks or six months respectively); Parade/Ceremonial Boots are repairable and can last from one to five years plus; Safety Footwear six months to two years.

When boots are no longer serviceable or there has been a change in the users’ needs, replacement boots can be obtained or requested from the Unit Quartermasters both in the UK and overseas.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what tests were conducted as part of the procurement procedure of the footwear issued to members of the armed forces; what (a) temperature, (b) weather and (c) terrain conditions were used as part of these tests; and if he will make a statement. (133467)

[holding answer 24 April 2007]: When new footwear requirements, designs and materials are introduced, they are subjected to laboratory testing and trials in the locations and conditions for which the item has been designed. The new version of the desert combat boot, introduced in March 2006, is a modification of the existing design, which has been in use since around 2000. Testing in this case was therefore limited to that done in the laboratory.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the monthly expenditure on footwear for members of the armed forces was in (a) 1999 and (b) 2006; and if he will make a statement. (133468)

[holding answer 24 April 2007]: The current five-year enabling arrangement for supplying footwear to the armed forces was awarded in 2004. The estimated value of the contract is between £8 million and £9 million per year.

The information prior to 2004 is not held centrally and could be provided at only disproportionate cost.