The 2019 Vote 36 (Defence) provision of €70m for Capability Development, is part of the allocation of €541m to Defence under the National Development Plan for the period 2018 – 2022. This investment will allow the Defence Organisation to undertake a programme of sustained equipment replacement for the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service, as identified and prioritised in the White Paper.
The following major priority projects are being progressed in 2019:
- Mid-life upgrade of the Mowag Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) fleet (estimated spend in 2019 - €15m);
- Procurement of Fixed Wing Utility aircraft (Pilatus) as replacement for Cessna aircraft (estimated spend in 2019 - €19m);
- Procurement of replacements for the two CASA 235 Maritime Patrol aircraft (Contract not finalised);
- Commencement of the mid-life refit programme of the Naval Service vessels LÉ Niamh and LÉ Róisín (estimated cost of the mid life refit programme is some €20m with part of this incurred in 2019) and ongoing planning for the acquisition of a multi-role vessel.
In addition, during 2019, investment will continue on various other equipment renewal and replacement programmes, including force protection, weapons and ammunition systems.
The major capital projects are multi annual and expenditure timeframes are dependent on the achievement of certain milestones. I am satisfied that the allocation for Capability Development for Vote 36 (Defence) in 2019, as part of the investment in Defence under the National Development Plan, will allow the Defence Organisation to continue a programme of sustained equipment replacement across the Defence Forces as identified and prioritised in the White Paper and ensure that the Defence Forces have the capabilities necessary to deliver on all the roles assigned by Government.