§ Mr. Duncan Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what reasons have been given by Heckler and Koch for the SA80 refit to be carried out in Germany. 
§ Mr. Hoon
[holding answer 7 July 2000]: Royal Ordnance submitted a bid to the Ministry of Defence on the basis that the bulk of the modification programme should be carried out at Heckler and Koch's Obendorf facility where the original modifications were designed and implemented. The company has indicated that to carry out the modification work elsewhere would require it to invest in the acquisition of new specialist tooling equipment and the transfer of technical expertise from Obendorf, and maintains that conducting the modification work there represents the lowest risk to the timescale and cost of the programme. Equally, early indications are that work on stripping and refurbishment of weapons prior to modification could most sensibly be done in the UK.