WESTMINSTER NEWSIt has been a very quiet week in Westminster with regards to defence related activities, most of Parliamentary attention being on the imminent withdrawal from the EU.
PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONSNuclear Power Stations, Costs: asked the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to page 27 of the report entitled Managing infrastructure projects on nuclear-regulated sites, published by the NAO on 10 January 2020, what the £339m cost attributed to other factors comprised, Minister of State for Defence, James Heappey said:
The £339 million cost referred to in the National Audit Office report relate to Project MENSA, the new-build warhead assembly/disassembly facility at the Atomic Weapons Establishment's Burghfield site. The additional costs include changes to project management and resourcing, design approvals, construction changes, equipment installation, facility commissioning and Ministry of Defence held contingency.
Household Cavalry, Armoured Fighting Vehicles: asked the Secretary of State for Defence, for what reason his Department did not meet the planned date for delivering Ajax armoured vehicles to the Household Cavalry; and whether that delay will affect plans for the vehicle to be operational by the mid-2020s, Minister of State for Defence, James Heappey said:
Due to the complex nature of integrating the very latest technology into the Army's first fully digital armoured fighting vehicle, the delivery of Ajax armoured vehicles to the Household Cavalry did not begin on the date we had planned. Delivery will begin shortly and we do not expect our plans for the vehicle to be operational by the mid-2020s to be affected by this.
Artillery, Procurement: asked the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the report published in November 2019 by RUSI entitled, The Future of Fires, what plans he has to allocate funding from the public purse to (a) anti-tank capability, (b) 155 mm field artillery, (c) long-range precision fires and (d) ground-based air defence, Minister of State for Defence, James Heappey said:
The Army is in the process of assessing its future requirement for an artillery system capability and has established a programme, known as Mobile Fires Platform, to refine the requirement and modernise the capability.
Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Procurement: asked the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 13 January 2020 to Question 47 on Royal Fleet Auxiliary: Procurement, how much from the public purse has been spent on the tendering process for the Fleet Solid Support Ships, Minister of State for Defence, James Heappey said:
The funding provided to conduct the Fleet Solid Support Ship Assessment Phase included provision to conduct a competition and associated activities. This work will be invaluable to any future procurement. I am, however, withholding this information as its disclosure would prejudice commercial interests.
Defence, Industry: asked the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department plans to revise the Defence Industrial Strategy policy, Minister of State for Defence, James Heappey said:
Our refreshed Defence Industrial Policy, published in December 2017, sets out our commitment to encouraging a thriving and globally competitive UK defence sector. The Ministry of Defence keeps its approach under constant review to ensure that the implementation and impact of our policies remain effective. We have decided in the past to adopt alternative approaches in specific areas, as we have done in Shipbuilding and Combat Air, and we continually assess our approach to other sectors to determine whether we need to develop separate strategies. Our approach to the Land sector is no different. Last year the Army launched the Army Industrial Engagement Framework which defined how the Army will develop a more cohesive and effective relationship with industry throughout the procurement and development process. The refreshed Defence Industrial Policy from 2017 remains the overarching policy document which describes our approach to industry more broadly.
OTHER NEWSBritain orders Airbus H145 helos amid scramble to fix pilot shortage
IAV 2020: GDLS-UK expects Ajax IOC this year despite delivery delay
UK awards contracts to explore Intelligent Ship technologies
GDLS-UK initiates pilot SME engagement programme for Ajax spiral upgrades
BAE Systems invests more than USD2 billion in Raytheon and UTC businesses
Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme decision due late 2020