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Defence Forces

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 27 January 2022

Thursday, 27 January 2022

Ceisteanna (106)

Cathal Crowe

Ceist:

106. Deputy Cathal Crowe asked the Minister for Defence if his Department will be purchasing new land vehicles, naval vessels or aircraft in 2022. [3630/22]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

My priority as Minister for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service is maintained and developed. This is to enable the Defence Forces to carry out the roles assigned by Government, as set out in the White Paper on Defence. Equipment priorities for the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service are being considered in the context of the lifetime of the White Paper on Defence as part of the capability development and Equipment Development Planning (EDP) process.

The Department of Defence has received a capital allocation under the National Development Plan of €566m over the 2022-2025 timeframe. Within that capital allocation the Defence annual capital budget for 2022 is €141m.

There are a number of defensive equipment acqusition and upgrade projects for which there will be capital expenditure in the coming years and which will see the delivery of additional capability in 2022. These include the midlife upgrade of the Army's fleet of 80 Mowag Piranha III armoured personnel carrier vehicles which is well underway as well as the completion of the delivery of an additional 30 Armoured Utility Vehicles. The Army's softskin fleet continues to be updated also with over 220 vehicles due for delivery in 2022.

In relation to air-based capability, the programme for the supply of two C295 Maritime Patrol Aircraft is well underway with delivery of the aircraft expected in 2023. Alongside the recently acquired PC-12 aircraft some €276 million, including VAT, has been committed to the acquisition of all of these enhanced capabilities.

With regard to the Naval Service, the programme of works has for the midlife reft and upgrade of the LÉ Róisín has been completed, while works have commenced on LÉ Niamh. The replacement of the flagship LÉ Eithne with a multi-role vessel, MRV, is an important element of the EDP. Marine Advisors have been appointed to support the procurement of the MRV. The possible replacement of other vessels is also under consideration.

The Deputy will be aware that the Government established an independent Commission on the Defence Forces in December 2020. The work of the Commission encompasses the consideration of appropriate military equipment capabilities, structures and staffing, and their report will inform decisions regarding the future development of the Defence Forces.

I am satisfied that the Defence Forces have a modern and effective range of equipment which is line with best international standards, to enable them to meet operational requirements.

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