Written answers

Tuesday, 26 April 2005

Department of Defence

Defence Forces Equipment

9:00 pm

Photo of John McGuinnessJohn McGuinness (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fianna Fail)
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Question 491: To ask the Minister for Defence if the light tactical armoured vehicles are to be replaced; if the tender process has commenced; the number being purchased; the likely cost of same; the timeframe for delivery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12830/05]

Photo of John McGuinnessJohn McGuinness (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fianna Fail)
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Question 492: To ask the Minister for Defence the plans to update or replace the armoured vehicles in the armoured and cavalry squadrons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12831/05]

Photo of Willie O'DeaWillie O'Dea (Minister, Department of Defence; Limerick East, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 491 and 492 together.

The acquisition of light tactical armoured vehicles, LTAVs, for the Defence Forces has been identified as a key priority by the military authorities for 2005. The LTAVs will complement the work of the 65 Mowag armoured personnel carriers delivered in the last few years at a cost of some €84 million. The tender competition for the acquisition of the LTAVs is now in progress. The precise number of vehicles to be acquired will be confirmed at a later date. The cost of the LTAV programme will only be evident after the tender competition is held.

The Defence Forces cavalry armoured fleet consists of 19 Panhard AML 90s fitted with a 90 millimetre gun, 18 Panhard AML 20s fitted with a 20 millimetre cannon and 14 Scorpion tanks fitted with a 76 millimetre gun. There has been considerable expenditure over the years in modernising the Panhard AML fleet with the replacement of engines and weapons systems on vehicles. It is intended that the communications system on the Panhard fleet will be replaced with a modern communications system, the upgrade programme to begin this year. There are no plans to update the Scorpion tanks.

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