§ Mr. Bill Michie
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make statement on the Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle Programme. 
§ Mr. Peter Bradley
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle Programme. 
§ Mr. George Robertson
I am pleased to announce that, together with Germany and France, we intend to develop and produce a family of armoured utility vehicles to meet the requirements of all three nations. The UK needs these vehicles to replace FV430, Saxon and Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) utility vehicles. We plan to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the joint programme, known in the UK as the Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle, MRAV, covering development and initial production of a total of 600 vehicles. Subject to the completion of the national approvals processes in Germany and France and the negotiation of satisfactory contract terms and conditions, it is intended to place a contract with Eurokonsortium, a consortium including GKN Defence Ltd. from the UK, Krauss-Maffei/Wegmann and Mak. from Germany, and GIAT from France.
This programme will be managed within the quadrilateral Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation, known as OCCAR, and represents a major 650W collaboration with our European allies. Collaboration will bring a number of benefits including improved interoperability and financial savings, through sharing of development costs and economies of scale in production. The project also offers UK industry the opportunity to strengthen its links with the leading companies in the European armoured vehicles industry.