23 Jun 09. WRITTEN STATEMENT
Armoured Fighting Vehicles
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Quentin Davies): The provision of armoured fighting vehicles to our forces has attracted considerable interest among hon. Members and the British public. I am today announcing the MOD’s new armoured fighting vehicles sector strategy and how it links to the defence industrial strategy.
The defence industrial strategy set out the Government’s approach to the delivery of the capabilities required by our armed forces now and in the future, recognising the important contribution that the defence industry makes. Building on the principles of the DIS, the new AVF sector strategy lays out further guiding principles which will shape MOD’s relationship with industry, setting the context for individual project decisions and contributing to a coherent sector programme.
In our strategy, we have changed the emphasis on how we meet our operational sovereignty requirements, making clear that it is not necessary to retain industrial capabilities in the UK in order to achieve appropriate operational sovereignty. We plan to make greater use of the global market, particularly within the EU and NATO, so long as we have assured access to the appropriate capabilities and expertise to design, modify, maintain, repair, overhaul, assemble, integrate and test our armoured fighting vehicles. Of course our critical requirement for affordability and value for money will remain. We continue to have a requirement to manufacture certain UK-specific critical sub-systems onshore and we will retain onshore the ability to maintain, repair and overhaul our vehicles, making use of the Defence Support Group. However where bids we receive offer comparable value for money, I will always take into account employment and industrial considerations in this country.
Contrary to our present position which normally involves manufacturers or lead contractors retaining the exclusive right to the use of the design information of platforms or systems we acquire, we will in future in principle wish to acquire at the outset rights over design information, as well as assured access to relevant design knowledge, sufficient to allow third party modification of designs where appropriate, and to permit routine maintenance repair and overhaul activities.
Our strategy will generally be to procure base vehicles which can provide a suitable platform for the systems we require and which allow for modification and enhancement in the light of future developments in technology and future operational requirements. This strategy will cover the whole of our AFV fleet, both legacy and future. As an intelligent customer, we need to be able to define technical standards and architectures and make intelligent decisions about using the right technologies and integrating them using best systems engineering practice. Where we do not have these in-house, we will need to source independent advice from elsewhere. We owe a great debt to the men and women of the armed forces who operate in hostile environments, risking their lives to secure freedom and to ensure that international terrorism, which threatens us all, is not allowed to take hold. We must ensure that they receive the very best support and the very best equipment for the roles they are undertaking. In this statement today, I have outlined a new strategy, one which will enable us to make the best procurement decisions in support of our armed forces. I believe that once the strategy is fully implemented it will ensure that we give our armed forces the armoured fighting vehicles they need and deserve to do their jobs as safely and effectively as modern technology can provide at best value for money for the UK taxpayer.
House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 22 June 2009
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to place before Parli