The RB44 Story


The RB44 Story Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6

Researched by forum member Just Popped In

PART 3 The costs involved.

 The RB44 Heavy Duty Utility Truck

RB44 Army Light Vehicle From government papers.

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date his Department withdrew from service the RB44 Army light vehicle; and on what date his Department was first alerted to the problems with braking mechanisms of the RB44. [6987]

Mr. Arbuthnot: The issue of braking first arose during trials in 1989, but the shortcomings were addressed before the production contract was placed in 1990.

The vehicles were temporarily withdrawn from service in June 1992 following problems with braking performance reported by the Royal School of Artillery in May 1992; after modifications, they were restored to service in November 1992. Following the results of further testing under stringent conditions in August 1993, the vehicles were withdrawn from service in December 1993, but were accepted again for service in August 1995.

On the RB44 Heavy Duty Utility Truck, braking faults began to appear in April 1991 following delivery of production vehicles to Units and, in December 1993, all RB44's were declared "vehicle-off-the-road" and could not be used until the fault had been rectified. To rectify the problems and make the vehicle fit for service use the contractor spent an estimated £250,000, whilst the Department estimated that it spent an additional £1.5 million and incurred an additional £1.7 million storage costs.

The Committee asked why the Department had to pay so much and the contractor only £250,000.
The Department told us that it had been too deeply involved in setting the specification so that the truck's ultimate performance was not entirely the responsibility of the contractor and the Department ended up paying for the additional costs. Recognising these shortcomings, the Department explained that it was trying to move away from specifying detailed solutions and towards specifying only the equipment performance which it would hold the contractor responsible for meeting.[

On the RB44 programme the Department specified very closely how the truck should be made rather than the performance it should achieve. As a result the truck's failure to work properly was not primarily the responsibility of the contractor and the Department ended up paying £3.2 million to rectify the situation. The Department will need to follow rigorously its new approach of specifying contractual requirements in performance terms, thus laying responsibility at the door of the contractor for delivery of equipment which meets its operational needs.

7. Others will come back to this and I will certainly come back to one of the points you made in a moment. In taking evidence on the 1997 Major Projects Report?I think you were with us Sir Robert?we heard about the technical difficulties which you had in procuring TUL/TUM Land Rovers which pulled to the left on braking.

I remember you brought us the rubber bush that caused the problem. Paragraph 3 of Box 4 details the problems which you had in the earlier procurement of another utility truck?the RB44?which again revolved around the problems with braking. In the RB44 case you spent almost £1 million modifying the braking system prior to acceptance. How is it that the braking problem re-occurred once the vehicle was in service and why do you seem to be unable to prevent such basic technical difficulties re-occurring? My own handwritten note here says it is not rocket science. Mr Tebbit?


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