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Armed Forces: Precision Guided Munitions

Volume 704: debated on Tuesday 14 October 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When the Paveway IV precision guided munitions will be available for operational use; how many will be available at that point; what was the original and what is now the formal initial operating capability date; how it is defined; what was the impact on cost and delivery of fuse availability issues reported during initial operational evaluation; and what penalties have been imposed on contractors undertaking the programme for non- and under-performance. [HL5407]

The Paveway IV weapon system is currently expected to be available for operational deployment, to meet its initial operating capability (IOC), by the end of 2008. This compares with an original IOC date of December 2007. The Paveway IV IOC is defined as the integration of the weapon on a single platform, the provision of a defined number of weapon stocks, support arrangements, and trained ground and air crew. I am withholding details of the number of Paveway IV weapons that will be available at IOC. Its release would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.

There was no cost impact associated with the delay of the Paveway IV fuse as payment was linked to the delivery programme for operational weapons, the start of which was dependent upon the successful outcome of the operational evaluation (OPEVAL) trials. The MoD refused to accept delivery of, and therefore deferred payment for, the Paveway IV weapon system even though some elements had successfully completed the OPEVAL trials. This was done to generate the appropriate industrial incentive and ensure that the fuse reliability issues were rigorously addressed by the contractor.