Skip to content

Defence | Extent to which defence forces are being properly equipped

To ask the Minister for Defence the extent to which action is being taken to ensure that the Defence Forces are properly equipped; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

To ask the Minister for Defence the extent to which military equipment is being upgraded in each branch of the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


My priority as Minister for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service is maintained and developed. This is to enable the Defence Forces to carry out the roles assigned by Government, as set out in the White Paper on Defence. 

In this context, the principal aim over the period of the White Paper is to replace and upgrade, as required, existing capabilities in order to retain a flexible response for a wide range of operational requirements at home and overseas.

Equipment priorities for the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service are being considered as part of the capability development and Equipment Development Planning (EDP) process. A five year Equipment Development Plan for continued re-equipment was developed on a civil military basis and was published in June 2020.  The Equipment Planning process recognises the need to maintain and upgrade military capabilities having regard to emerging priorities, operational requirements and changes in technology. This is an ongoing iterative process.

The Department of Defence has received a capital allocation under the National Development Plan of €566m over the 2022-2025 timeframe. Within that capital allocation the Defence annual capital budget for 2022 is €141m. Over recent years the capital budget has also been augmented through the reallocation of pay savings.

There are a number of defensive equipment acqusition and upgrade projects for which there will be capital expenditure in the coming years. These include the midlife upgrade of the Army’s fleet of 80 Mowag Piranha III Armoured Personnel Carrier vehicles which is well underway as well as the completion of the delivery of an additional 30 Armoured Utility Vehicles. The Army’s non-armoured fleet continues to be updated also with over 220 vehicles due for delivery in 2022.    

In relation to air-based capability, the programme for the supply of two C295 Maritime Patrol Aircraft is well underway with delivery of the aircraft expected in 2023. Alongside the recently acquired PC-12 aircraft some €276 million, including VAT, has been committed to the acquisition of all of these enhanced capabilities.  

The Naval Service Vessel Renewal and Replacement Programme is ongoing and the programme includes radar and other equipment upgrades along with the replacement of Naval Service Reserve motor launches. The programme of works for the midlife refit and upgrade of LÉ Róisín has been completed, while works are ongoing on LÉ Niamh. Marine Advisors have been appointed to support the procurement of multi-role vessel to replace the flagship, LÉ Eithne, with work underway that will inform a public tender competition in due course. Two Inshore Patrol Vessels have been purchased from the New Zealand Government to replace LÉ Orla and LÉ Ciara, it is expected these vessels will be transported to Ireland in 2023 following the completion of a programme of works. The planned replacement of three vessels maintains a 9 ship fleet for the Naval Service.

The Commission on the Defence Forces was established on foot of a commitment in the Programme for Government, and I, as Minister for Defence, welcomed the publication of the report of the Commission on 9th February last.  The Commission has undertaken a significant body of work, encompassing wide-ranging terms of reference.  It recommends significant changes for the Defence Forces and Defence provision in Ireland. It covers high level Defence Forces structures, defence capabilities, organisation, culture and human resources, the Reserve Defence Force and funding.
Given the significant recommendations contained in the Report, detailed consideration of these recommendations has been undertaken over the last four months by my Department and the Defence Forces.  This has involved significant inter-departmental consultation, and I and my officials have engaged with key stakeholders to ascertain their views. Following this engagement, I intend to return to Government with a proposed response to the Commission’s recommendations and a high-level action plan before the Summer recess.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: