Wednesday, 2 June 2010
Department of Defence
Defence Forces Equipment
Question 154: To ask the Minister for Defence the extent to which all materials and equipment including aircraft used by the Air Corps is upgraded updated or replaced as necessary; the extent to which this has happened over the past three years and is likely to be provided for in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23761/10]
There has been very significant investment in equipment for the Air Corps in recent years. The comprehensive investment programme included the acquisition of Pilatus training aircraft at a total cost of â¬60m, two light utility EC 135 helicopters at a cost of â¬12.8m, six utility AW 139 helicopters at a cost of â¬75m, and a major mid life upgrade on the two CASA maritime patrol aircraft at a cost of â¬16.5m.
There are no plans to purchase new aircraft for the Air Corps in the immediate future. The acquisition of new equipment for the Air Corps is a matter that will be kept under continuous review. It is, however, imperative that the Department and the Defence Forces, including the Air Corps, look to whatever efficiencies can be made taking into account the current difficult economic environment and the overall financial envelope available for the Department for the acquisition of new equipment and for upgrading and refurbishment programmes for equipment, including aircraft, over the coming years. The budgetary situation will dictate the level of funding available for new equipment and upgrades in that period and decisions will be made accordingly. Funding will, of course, be continued to be provided in the relevant Subhead for the required maintenance of Air Corps aircraft.
Question 155: To ask the Minister for Defence the extent to which obsolete vehicles or equipment other than those retained for historical or museum purposes has been replaced throughout the Defence Forces; the extent to which older vehicles and equipment is utilised in every day use with particular reference to transport vehicles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23762/10]
Military vehicles undergo regular maintenance and overhauls to ensure that they are roadworthy. When a vehicle reaches its end of life, the vehicle is withdrawn from operational service and disposed of. It is not the practice to retain a vehicle in service if it is not considered roadworthy. Military vehicles are normally disposed of in accordance with S.I. No 282 of 2006 'End of life Vehicle Regulations'.
The Defence Forces is equipped with a modern transport fleet which has proven itself capable of undertaking the roles assigned to it by Government, both domestically and in the recent overseas missions such as Chad and Kosovo. The recent addition of the Roll Over Protection Systems for Troop Carrying Vehicles has increased the level of protection available to Defence Forces personnel whilst being transported on such vehicles.
Notwithstanding the current budgetary situation, a limited number of important equipment purchases will be advanced in 2010 including the delivery of 27 Light Tactical Armoured Vehicles from BAE Systems in South Africa. Other transport related acquisitions scheduled this year include 22 Minibuses, 2 ambulances, 45 patrol vehicles and 4 mid-coaches for troop transportation. In addition, funding is provided on a continuous basis for the required maintenance of the vehicles in the military transport fleet.