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Defence Equipment: Training

Volume 461: debated on Monday 4 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many complaints were registered in each of the last five years about equipment during training exercises. (137422)

[holding answer 16 May 2007]: The MOD greatly values and actively encourages feedback from personnel on how equipment is performing, so that lessons can be learnt and improvements made where a need is identified. There are a number of ways available for members of the armed forces to raise issues, faults and suggestions for improvement to equipment, but there is no requirement to collate and hold such information centrally.

Data are, however, held on equipment failure reports (EFRs) and this, for equipment on training exercises in each of the last five years, is shown in the following table. EFRs are however not technically complaints; they are the reporting mechanism used by units for routine equipment support issues. The data do not account for the results of subsequent investigations and therefore do not differentiate what has subsequently been found to be an equipment failure and operator error or damage sustained as a result of an accident. Nor do those data give the severity of any such failures, which in many cases have no discernable impact on operational capability or safety.

Moreover, these figures cover almost 800 different types of equipment, ranging from Challenger2 tanks down to wrist watches, and need to be viewed in the context of the huge volume of equipment used annually on training exercises.

Number of EFRs

2002

2,369

2003

1,342

2004

2,749

2005

1,989

2006

1,952