Select Committee on Defence Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Ministry of Defence Departmental Minute concerning the Gifting of Surplus Challenger 2 Ammunition to Oman (29 November 2001)

  It is normal practice when a Government department proposes to make a gift of public stores or property, either of an unusual nature or of a value exceeding £100,000, for the department concerned to present to the House of Commons a Minute giving particulars of the gift and explaining the circumstances; and to refrain from making the gift until 14 days (exclusive of Saturdays and Sundays) after the issue of the Minute, except in cases of special urgency.

  The proposal relates to the gift of 1650 rounds of Challenger 2 L23 ammunition to the Royal Army of Oman. The Omanis purchased a limited quantity of L23 shot as part of their Challenger 2 contract with Vickers Defence Systems, and having recently taken into service the final tranche of Challenger 2 tanks now require additional stocks. This ammunition is no longer made by Royal Ordnance and is only available from British Army stocks.

  The total value of the gift is £1,375,930. The rounds of L23 shot have been identified as surplus to MOD's requirements. The prospects for sale of these rounds are assessed to be minimal, and their gifting would save MOD some £66,500 in demilitarisation disposal costs.

  The Treasury has approved the proposal in principle. If, during the period of 14 days (exclusive of Saturdays and Sundays) beginning on the date on which this Minute was laid before the House of Commons, a Member signifies an objection by giving notice of a Parliamentary Question or of a Motion relating to the Minute, or by otherwise raising the matter in the House, final approval of the gift will be withheld, pending an examination of the objection.

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