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18 Apr 2007 : Column WA53

Written Answers

Wednesday 18 April 2007

Armed Forces: Bowman

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): As reported by the NAO in July 2006, Bowman and CIP were declared in service with 59 provisos between them. To date, 23 of these provisos have been cleared and the department currently expects to resolve the remaining provisos around the end of 2007.

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Drayson: Provisos are not managed by the Bowman Combat Infrastructure Platform contract. They are used by the department as a way of making useful capabilities available to the Armed Forces as soon as possible. It is an example of our pragmatic approach to incremental acquisition.

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Drayson: This issue was included in the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee of Public Accounts report Delivering digital tactical communications through the Bowman CIP Programme published on 8 March 2007. The Government will respond to the committee in a Treasury minute shortly.

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:



18 Apr 2007 : Column WA54

Lord Drayson: The Bowman Combat Infrastructure Platform is an incremental programme and improvement of ease of use is one of the key elements of the next increment due to be fielded in 2008.

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Drayson: The department has an incremental improvement strategy towards Bowman Combat Infrastructure and Platform support that is compliant with current and emerging support policy while meeting the needs of the front line. The intention is to develop a long-term through-life support solution.

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Drayson: Lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan will inform the department's future capability development, rather than acceptance of the system. Bowman Combat Infrastructure Platform has been accepted into service, albeit with provisos, which are due to be cleared under the next increment that is currently undergoing trials and testing.

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Drayson: I am withholding details of electronic counter measures (ECM) as its disclosure would prejudice, or would be likely to prejudice, the capability effectiveness of security of our Armed Forces. The interoperability of all systems that operate within the electro-magnetic spectrum is an issue under constant review. The ECM capability we field is world-leading.

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Drayson: Initial difficulties with inter-crew communications have been overcome and performance

18 Apr 2007 : Column WA55

is expected to improve with the next increment of Bowman Combat Infrastructure Platform capability, due to be fielded next year.

Armed Forces: Communications

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): Work is continuing on how best to improve the portability of the Bowman VHF manpack radio, aiming to deliver an improved solution for specific roles which will be based on a re-engineered and lighter radio. This should be introduced over the next two years.



18 Apr 2007 : Column WA56

Armed Forces: Drug Tests

Lord Garden asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): Identified trends in illegal drug taking in the Armed Forces are:

Rates of positive tests for the Army initially fell during the first two years when random tests were introduced (from 1.4 per cent in 1995 to 0.7 per cent in 1996). More recently, positive results for the Armed Forces overall have fluctuated but increased from 0.53 per cent in 2000 to 0.65 per cent in 2006.

The misuse of class A drugs has risen for each of the services and increased for the Armed Forces as a whole from 42.5 per cent of positive results in 2000 to 56.9 per cent in 2006.

Further information is shown in the table below:

2000200120022003200420052006

Royal Navy:

Positive rates among those tested

0.35%

0.39%

0.33%

0.41%

0.39%

0.37%

0.46%

Percentages of positives which were class A

55.3%

44.0%

30.2%

62.5%

55.3%

76.6%

79.0%

Army:

Positive rates among those tested

0.59%

0.65%

0.58%

0.56%

0.69%

0.83%

0.74%

Percentages of positives which were class A

41.2%

49.5%

46.5%

47.0%

37.2%

61.2%

55.0%

Royal Air Force:

Positive rates among those tested

0.12%

0.13%

0.09%

0.15%

0.21%

0.16%

0.14%

Percentages of positives which were class A

35.7%

39.0%

30.0%

20.0%

45.8%

57.1%

66.7%

Armed Forces overall:

Positive rates among those tested

0.53%

0.57%

0.50%

0.49%

0.61%

0.71%

0.65%

Percentages of positives which were class A

42.5%

48.8%

45.0%

47.5%

38.7%

62.0%

56.9%

Armed Forces: Procurement

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The issue of appointing senior responsible owners was included in the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee of Public Accounts report Delivering digital tactical communications through the Bowman CIP Programme published on 8 March 2007. The Government will respond to the committee in a Treasury minute shortly.

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Drayson: The department is implementing the through-life capability management model across defence as one of the key elements of the Defence Acquisition Change Programme. The specific question of through- life management issues relating to complex new systems such as supporting Bowman Combat Infrastructure Platform was included in the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee of Public Accounts report Delivering digital tactical communications through the Bowman CIP Programme published on 8 March 2007. The Government will respond to the committee in a Treasury minute shortly.


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