§ Dr. David Clark
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what tests have been performed on rifle ammunition purchased from the Portuguese firm INDEP to determine their failure rate; what was the failure rate of the ammunition; what is his Department's standard failure rate of rifle ammunition; if his Department has encountered any technical problems with the ammunition; and if the ammunition purchased from INDEP has been assessed as satisfactory. 
§ Mr. Arbuthnot
The 7.62 mm sniper rifle round produced by INDEP, which won the recent competition to supply ammunition for the National Rifle Association, has been subjected to three sets of tests. Prior to INDEP's inclusion in the tender invitation list, the design integrity of their round was established. During production, sample rounds underwent a number of acceptance tests examining different aspects of the manufacture of the rounds and their functioning in service weapons. Pass-fail criteria varied from test to test but were rigorous; no critical defects were allowed and major defects could not occur in more than one round in 1,000. To date all acceptance tests have been satisfactory. Finally, following the NRA's reports of misfires, the Defence Test and Evaluation Organisation carried out extensive tests during which over 1,500 rounds of INDEP ammunition were fired from service issue sniper rifles. No misfires occurred. We remain satisfied that the INDEP ammunition is to the specification laid down in the contract.
§ Mr. Arbuthnot
INDEP was awarded a contract for 1.3 million rounds of 7.62 mm sniper rifle ammunition on 10 February 1995. The contract value is commercially confidential.