24 Nov 08. A400M Transport Aircraft: Contingency Plans. The Defence Equipment Minister confirmed (24 Nov 08) that the planned in service date for the A400M is 2011. Following the announcement of delays by Airbus Military in the A400M programme, the MoD is “considering a number of options as a contingency to mitigate any potential capability gaps that may arise”.
Comment: Options being considered by the MoD include a life extension for the C-130K fleet and leasing or procurement of additional C-17 aircraft.
Nov 08. Equipment: Defence Committee Inquiry. The (recently appointed) Defence Equipment Minister and MoD officials are to give evidence to the Defence Committee during a further session for the Inquiry into Defence Equipment. The evidence session is due to start at 10.30hrs on Tue 9 Dec 08 in Committee Room 16 in the Palace of Westminster.
Comment: The venue in Committee Room 16 is provisional and can be confirmed through the Committee Information Line (Tel: 020-7219 5745).
House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 246 November 2008
Armoured Fighting Vehicles
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on progress on the Future Rapid Effects System. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: On 8 May 2008, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) announced selection of PIRANHA V offered by General Dynamics (UK) Ltd as the preferred design for the FRES (Future Rapid Effect System) Utility Vehicle. Acknowledging that there were significant issues to be resolved during negotiations, the MOD took the step of making General Dynamics (UK) Ltd’s preferred bidder status provisional. For reasons of commercial confidentiality I cannot go into further details at this time. The Specialist Vehicle (SV) element of the FRES programme continues to make good progress. In June 2008, departmental approval was given for the SV Assessment Phase. The aim of this phase is to refine the requirement, develop programme options for delivering the FRES Specialist Vehicle capability and to understand and mitigate technical risk. The Assessment Phase includes the placement of a range study of contracts with industry. We are also currently developing the Acquisition Strategy for future stages of the SV programme.
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many Jackal
vehicles have been damaged beyond repair in service in (a) Iraq and (b)
(2) how many Warrior vehicles have been damaged beyond repair in (a) Iraq in the
last five years and (b) Afghanistan since they were introduced into that
(3) how many Mastiff vehicles have been damaged beyond repair since their
introduction into theatre. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: I am withholding the information requested as its disclosure
would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security
of our armed forces.
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on the public disclosure of the weight of Army vehicles. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: Specific operational information on the weight of Army vehicles is withheld as its disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces. Insurgents could estimate the weight of armour and payload, potentially giving a tactical advantage. Knowledge of the total weight of a vehicle may allow opposing forces to determine the possible routes a convoy may follow and allow more effective attack planning. General equipment weights (i.e. before up-armouring) however are in the public domain.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Written
Ministerial Statement of 29 October 2008, Official Report, columns 28-30WS, on protected mobility, which types of lesser protected vehicles he plans to withdraw from operations. 
Mr. Hutton: The tactical support vehicles (TSVs) Coyote, Husky and