§ 3. Mr. David Mitchell
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he remains satisfied with the operational state of Chieftain tanks with BAOR.
§ Mr. Mitchell
Does the Minister deny that these tanks are having to be can-nibalised to keep them going? How does he reconcile that fact with the assurance he has just given? Is he the only person who is not aware how serious the situation is?
§ Mr. Brown
The continuing programme of modification to improve the 1191 reliability of the L60 engine is going well. The mileage achieved is of the same order as that of other NATO tanks. I am not aware of any members of the German, French or United States Administrations who have criticised their tanks in the way that our hon. Members seem to do.
§ Mr. Churchill
Is the Minister aware that the average for most of our Chieftain tanks is well under 1,000 miles per failure of engine? That is substantially lower than the rate of our allies and is about one-quarter of the mileage achieved by the engines that we are supplying to the Shah of Iran. Why must the Rhine Army always take second place?
§ Mr. Litterick
Will my hon. Friend say how effective is the operational range of the Chieftain tank compared with the Russian T72?
§ Mr. Goodhart
Is the Minister aware that, if the Chieftain tank is to be effective on the battlefield, it has got to get there? Many of the tank conveyors are older than their drivers, and some conveyors have travelled more than 250,000 miles. When will these tank conveyors be replaced?