The purchase of arms, ammunition and other defensive equipment on an ongoing basis is a pre-requisite for ensuring that the Defence Forces are fully equipped to carry out their day-to-day roles at home and overseas. The amount expended on such equipment in 2003 was just over €33 million. The provision for 2004 is €34.54 million.
In addition to arms, ammunition and other defensive equipment, major equipment purchases for the Defence Forces are also provided for from this provision, with payments normally spread over a number of years once a contract is signed.
An example this year is the delivery of an additional 25 armoured personnel carriers from Mowag of Switzerland that will give the Defence Forces a total of 65 Mowag APCs. The value of the contract for the additional 25 is some €33 million inclusive of VAT with payments spread over 2002 to 2005. The acquisition of the Javelin medium range anti-tank guided weapon system from Raytheon-Lockheed Martin in the USA at a cost of €12.7 million approximately is also being provided from this provision with payments over 2003 to 2005. The ongoing programmes for the acquisition of nuclear, biological, chemical, NBC, equipment and night vision equipment, NVE, for the Defence Forces are again funded from this provision.
The Department acquires its defensive equipment from a wide range of countries and companies with the main focus being on achieving the best value for money for the acquisitions.