HC Deb 09 July 2002 vol 388 cc853-5W
Mr. Hancock

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to conduct a cost and (MBT), Landrover and the Demountable Rack Off Load and Pick up System (DROPS) vehicle) is set out in the table.

Information on the content of British manufacturing for every vehicle used is not held centrally and as such an overall assessment could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The British manufacturing content of each of the vehicles, set out in the table, is 85 per cent. or more.

effectiveness comparison of alternatives to using depleted uranium in gun-launched Kinetic Energy penetrator projectiles to defeat threats from tanks; and if he will make a statement. [67840]

Dr. Moonie

Operational analysis (OA) studies into the cost-effectiveness of tank-launched depleted uranium ammunition have taken place since the 1970s when it was assessed that the existing tungsten Kinetic Energy (KE) projectile for our main battle tank would not be able to penetrate the frontal armour of the next generation of battle tanks. OA and scientific research showed that a battle winning UK capability against emerging armour technologies could be achieved by replacing the tungsten penetrator with one made from DU.

Although research to identify more effective alternative KE tank rounds has been undertaken, no satisfactory alternative to DU has yet been identified which achieves the level of penetration needed to defeat the most modern battle tanks. At this time. the use of DU ammunition remains the most operationally effective capability and the use of non-DU ammunition would significantly threaten operational success and potentially could lead to increased UK casualties.

We will, however, continue to carry out work on alternatives to DU. The DU research proposal which was announced earlier this year, 14 March 2002, Official Report, columns 1177–78W—also published on the web at www.mod.uk/issues/depleted_uranium/du_research.htm—includes, at section 2.5, OA studies on the types of engagement where DU ammunition is required and the consequences of not using DU, together with cost-effectiveness studies into other means of defeating heavy armour. The proposal also includes, at section 2.6, work into radical alternatives (for example. guided missiles) to DU KE penetrators to defeat heavy armour.