Armed Forces: Equipment

Defence written question – answered on 10th November 2009.

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Photo of Liam Fox Liam Fox Shadow Secretary of State for Defence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) required and (b) actual number is of (i) pieces of night vision equipment, (ii) pieces of body armour and (iii) small arms in the army.

Photo of Quentin Davies Quentin Davies Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Defence Equipment and Support)

In terms of night vision optics, the Army currently has 14,634 Common Weapon Sights, 1,777 Maxikite 1 and 4,388 Maxikite 2. Some of these will be upgraded under the Future Infantry System Technology (FIST) programme designed to further improve the equipment available to the infantry soldier. The remainder will then be redistributed to those units and individuals employed in other roles where these capabilities are either non-existent or in short supply. The FIST requirement for night vision optics is shown in the following table. Deliveries of this new equipment are due to begin in September 2010.

Sight Future requirement
Common Weapon Sight II 2,471
Thermal Weapon Sight (VIPIR 3) 4,331
Maxikite 2 Mk 2 1,705
Helmet Mounted Night Vision System II 10,835

Our body armour and small arms holdings and requirements are provided in the following tables.

Body armour type Current fleet size Current endorsed requirement
Enhanced Combat Body Armour 103,604 32,000
Osprey 32,000 11,362
Osprey Assault (1)5,000 10,000
(1) The second tranche of 5,000 Osprey Assault is due to be delivered in the first quarter of next year.
Weapon Current fleet size Requirement
SA80 A2 (L85A2) (Defence Nos) 176,000 138,570
LSW (L86A2) 11,000 5,000
Pistol L9 Browning (Defence Nos) 24,964 25,000
SA80 Carbine (L22A2) 1,546 1,600
LMG 4,309 4,933

None of the figures above includes equipment procured for use in Afghanistan through the urgent operational requirement process. I am withholding the information as its disclosure would or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

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