Examination of Witnesses(Questions 40-59)|
TEBBIT KCB, CMG, LIEUTENANT
REITH CB, CBE AND
MONDAY 21 OCTOBER 2002
40. How quickly will you be changing it, in case
they are needed in the near future?
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) I think it will take
about 12 months to complete.
41. About 12 months? What if they are wanted
between now and then?
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) They are still usable
and were used during the exercise.
42. As long as it is not too hot.
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) There was limited
availability because of that factor, but they were limited to
25 kilometres per hour.
43. And moving at night.
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) They moved at night
for different reasons.
44. It says in the report that they were confined
to moving at night.
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) But not for the same
reason. They were confined to movement at night for operational
security reasons. As the general will tell you, it is what you
do when you are fighting wars.
45. This may seem an obvious question, but am
I right in saying that the kind of conditions you experienced
in Oman would be similar to the kind of conditions you might experience
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) No, they are more
46. In Oman?
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) In Oman.
47. Depending on which time of the year you go
in or . . .?
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) This is a purely hypothetical
question, for reasons you will well understand. They are more
extreme in Oman because of the amount of desert and heat, which
is very different from Iraq, particularly northern Iraq. Obviously
Iraq changes but it is the difference between sand deserts and
48. Although, as the general says, the problems
with the tanks were similar to ones experienced in the Gulf War.
(Lieutenant General Reith) In terms of
dust, not temperature.
49. So you had the same dust problem ten years
ago, albeit on a different tank, and you have the same dust problem
(Lieutenant General Reith) Not the same
at all. The dust was being ingested into the engines of Challenger
1; we were having to replace engines and main assemblies, which
is very expensive and very difficult to do because you have to
regenerate an engine. All we have to do now is to replace filters
which are a disposable item.
50. How long does it take to change a tank filter?
(Lieutenant General Reith) About 20 minutes
if you have the tank filter.
51. Would a tank carry a tank filter with it?
(Lieutenant General Reith) The tank filters
move with the tank squadron.
52. Does each individual tank have a tank filter
(Lieutenant General Reith) No, the quartermaster,
who is with the squadron, moves with them with the filters and
any other spares.
53. Do you have to get outside the tank to change
(Lieutenant General Reith) We always
get outside our tanks on a regular basis because we have to do
lots of maintenance to the outside.
54. What I am getting at is that if you are in
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) I think I can help
you. You do need to remember the answer to the earlier question.
If we were in an operational environment we would have side skirting,
up-armouring, applique« armour, which would also reduce dust
ingestion. Therefore the usage rate of the filters would be much
lower and, I suspect, on the design specification.
55. The trouble is that I do not know whether
you are telling the truth about this.
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) Are you accusing me
of not telling the truth?
56. I do not mean "truth". I am not
sure your guesses about the use of air filters are reliable at
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) They are not guesses
at all; they are not guesses. This is the result of the most detailed
work you could possibly have.
57. Why did you not do the work before you sent
all these tanks into Oman?
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) Because it was an
exercise; that is why we do exercises, to find these things.
58. You did not send one tank maybe six months
in advance to run around in the desert and work out that it had
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) I am sorry, but I
must repeat myself. The design authority for this equipment, not
the Ministry of Defence, not me, told us that the life expectancy
in the worst possible conditions would be 14 hours. They were
proved incorrect. That is an experience we have now learned, an
experience which is helpful, but in no way vital to the operation
of our tank capability because, as I have said before, we have
a very large number of filters now because we would not expect
to operate in conditions quite as bad as the ones we used, in
the most testing conditions we could find, because in operations
we would have side armour on anyway which would change that ratio
and because there are several options which we could adopt which
would be very quick, although you must understand I am not at
liberty to tell you just how quick, to solve the problem completely
by doing what the Omanis have done.
59. Your answer strikes me as incredibly complacent.
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) They are just facts.
I am sorry if you do not like them.