07 Feb 08. Parliament: Spring Half-Term Recess. Both Houses of Parliament rose on Thu 7 Feb 08 and are to return on Mon 18 Feb 08. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0807, 11 Feb 08)
House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 07 Feb 2008
Armed Forces: Recruitment
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many personnel in the
(a) Army, (b) Royal Navy and (c) Royal Air Force are involved in recruitment;
and whether these figures meet the manning requirement. 
Derek Twigg: All armed forces personnel, either directly or indirectly, have a recruiting role. Nevertheless, the numbers of Naval Service and Royal Air Force personnel primarily involved in managing or delivering the regular service recruiting process are as follows: Naval Service: 339, against an establishment of 356; Royal Air Force: 324, against an establishment of 348. Details of the numbers of Army personnel primarily involved in recruitment activities are not readily available and I will write to the hon. Member with the details in due course. The numbers primarily engaged in recruiting activities is regularly reviewed against requirement with adjustments being made to reflect priorities.
Armoured Fighting Vehicles: Procurement
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the current in-service date is for the Panther vehicle. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The in-service date (ISO) for Panther, as stated in the main gate business case, was November 2007. Declaration of this ISO having been achieved has currently been withheld until certain support aspects, not required
to be in place until the end of March 2008, have been finalised. This delay in formal declaration of the Panther in-service date having been achieved has no impact on the delivery of the vehicles to the Army.
Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what research and development has been commissioned into alternatives to dumb and smart cluster munitions for use by HM forces. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: MOD’s research and development programme has shifted its focus from dumb munitions to the delivery of precision effects through a variety of weapon concepts. The Department is commissioning a broad programme covering sensor, fuzing and effects technology, as well as modelling performance of components and systems to assess effectiveness against targets, to understand unintended consequences and to reduce collateral damage. This is outlined under the requirements for complex weapons and general munitions in Chapters B7 and B8 of the Defence Technology Strategy published in 2006, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.
Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the failure rate is
of not-dumb cluster munitions available to HM forces; and if he will make a
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The 155 mm L20A1 Extended Range Bomblet Shell is the only cluster munition that the MOD holds as part of its stock pile. There have been a number of trials of the L20A1, which contains M85 bomblets with a self-destruct mechanism. When the totality of test and acceptance firings is analysed over the life of the munition, the average bomblet failure rate is approximately 2 per cent. As part of its ongoing quality and performance regime, the MOD continues to actively monitor the performance of this system and explore, in partnership with the supplier, the factors which might have a bearing on failure rates.
Bowman Combat Radio System
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of
22 January 2008, Official Report, column 1835W, on Bowman Combat Radio System, what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the cost effectiveness of batteries provided by ABSL Power Solutions for Bowman; and whether the National Audit Office has been involved in making an assessment of the cost effectiveness. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: