§ Mrs. Ann Winterton
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the award of the demountable rack off-loading pick-up system contract.
§ Mr. Archie Hamilton
I am pleased to announce that, following competitive selection and trialling, we have now decided to award main production for the British Army's DROPS vehicles and ancillary equipment to Foden Trucks and Leyland Vehicles Ltd (Scammell Motors). These firms will be responsible respectively for the supply of the improved and the medium mobility vehicles. Load Handling Systems for the fleet will be provided under sub-contract by Multilift (UK) Ltd of Shrewsbury. This programme will comprise over 2,000 vehicles with a total value of some £220 million. Trials of production built vehicles will lead to full production in 1988, with the equipments entering service with the Army in 1989. DROPS will represent a major advance on the Army's existing logistic capabilities for the outloading and resupply of ammunition in the field. The programme will also provide much needed orders for the United Kingdom motor industry, sustaining over 1,000 jobs in the industry and with beneficial effects on associated component suppliers.