Written Answers - Defence Forces Equipment.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 691 No. 2

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  39.  Deputy Willie Penrose  Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose   asked the Minister for Defence  Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea   if he is satisfied that there is a sufficient Defence Force air intercept capability. [34860/09]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Willie O’Dea): Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  The Pilatus PC9M trainer aircraft operated by the Air Corps has a limited air defensive capability appropriate to its turbo prop flight envelope. While it is not an interceptor aircraft, it could catch and intercept certain aircraft. Each aircraft has the capability to be fitted with two point 5 machine guns and two rocket launchers. In addition to the Air Corps capabilities the Defence Forces have a range of air defence capabilities. These air defence assets are related to the level of threat.

The main Radar capability of the Defence Forces used for the purpose of Air Defence is the Flycatcher Radar System. This equipment was procured in 2002 from the Dutch Armed Forces. It is used to carry out the Target Acquisition and Fire Control of the Bofors EL70 40 mm Air Defence Guns. Each radar unit is capable of controlling three Guns and its purpose is to provide an effective defence against airborne threats flying at low and very low level. The system has an operational range of up to 20 km. A crew of two or three operates the system. The complete Radar weighs about 6000 kg and is carried on a two-axle trailer. There are eight of these radars in service with the Defence Forces. The system is normally deployed for VIP visits, transits and summits.

The other main radar capability, also used for Air Defence, is the Giraffe G40 Radar; the Defence Forces have one system in service. This equipment was procured new from Ericssons of Sweden in 1986. It is used to exercise command and control over RBS 70 Surface to Air Missile Firing Units when deployed. It has an operational surveillance range of up to 40 km and an altitude ceiling of 15 km. It can be used to exercise command and control on up to 9 RBS 70 missile Firing Units.

The Equipment has a crew of four (Commander, Radar Operator, and two operators), and is mounted on a 6X6 MAN Truck. It is deployed regularly for VIP Visits/Transits and summits.

The assets available to the Defence Forces are related to the level of threat and are considered adequate and appropriate in this regard.

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