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Armed Forces: Uniforms

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) sets of body armour, (b) AK47 assault rifles, (c) underslung grenade launchers for AK47s and (d) 9mm pistols are owned by UK forces. (185180)

Since 2006 approximately 24,550 sets of Osprey body armour and 3,766 sets of Kestrel body armour have been procured. Like Osprey and Kestrel, enhanced combat body armour (ECBA) is composed of a number of components, but because it is available in a range of sizes, comes from various suppliers, and its individual component usage rates vary, it is not possible to say exactly how many complete sets have been procured. Records are not kept of the number of components lost or destroyed, and hence it is also not possible to say exactly how many sets are currently owned by UK forces.

However every person is issued with a complete set of ECBA prior to deployment on operations. To ensure that sufficient operational stock is always available we monitor our requirement closely. At present between 14,000 and 16,000 sets of ECBA are being issued to personnel entering operational theatres, every six months. Further stocks are also held in theatre for maintenance purposes.

In addition, there is a pool of approximately 8,000 sets of ECBA which is used for training purposes.

The MOD does not procure or support AK47 assault rifles or underslung grenade launchers for AK47s. However, UK forces own a number of AK47 assault rifles as specimens, museum pieces and such like. Information on the numbers owned are not held centrally.