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37. Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to meet the United States Secretary of Defence to discuss issues of mutual interest concerning NATO; and if he will make a statement. [156964]

Mr. Hoon: I next plan to meet Secretary Rumsfeld at the NATO Defence Ministerials in Brussels between 6-8 June.

Baton Rounds

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which individuals and competencies were represented on the Baton Rounds Steering Group; when this body was created; what its annual budget is; and what meetings and correspondence the Group has had with the body set up as a result of the Patten Commission recommendation to commission urgent research to develop an alternative to the plastic baton round. [158053]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I have been asked to reply.

The Baton Rounds Steering Group which has now been wound up, comprised representatives of the police, the Home Office (including scientific advice), the Ministry of Defence (both military and scientific) and the Northern Ireland Office. It is not our practice to name individual members of committees or officials. The group itself held no budget.

As the work of the Baton Rounds Steering Group had largely been completed prior to the establishment of the project group looking at alternatives to the baton round, no formal meetings or correspondence between the two took place. But, as the majority of the organisations represented on the "Alternatives to Baton Rounds" project group were also represented on the Baton Rounds Steering Group, any relevant information was routinely shared.

Defence Assets

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list UK assets identified in the Force catalogue under the Helsinki Headline Goal; and if he will list those assets therein which are (a) double and (b) multiple-hatted to (i) the UN, (ii) NATO, (iii) other bodies and (iv) standing tasks. [158314]

Mr. Hoon: As announced on 20 November 2000, in the maximum scale operation envisaged at Helsinki--a corps level deployment of up to 60,000 troops--the UK component could be around 12,500 strong. Maritime and air deployments of up to 18 warships and 72 combat aircraft could be made in addition.

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The pool of forces identified by the UK provides for an element of choice in order to cater for differing operational, political or geographical circumstances, and the major elements are as follows:


Either an Armoured or Mechanised brigade, each of which could be sustained for at least a year or an Air Assault brigade which would be deployed for up to six months. Combat Support enabling capabilities such as Artillery, and Short Range Air Defence, and Attack Helicopters could be deployed in addition, supported by the appropriate complement of logistic enablers and national support troops.


Maritime forces comprising one aircraft carrier, two nuclear powered submarines, deployment of up to four destroyers/frigates, support vessels; and an amphibious task group, including one helicopter landing platform and an amphibious brigade. The aircraft carrier, helicopter landing platform and submarines could not necessarily be sustained continuously for a whole year.


Up to 72 combat aircraft (including Sea Harriers), with associated support aircraft including strategic transport. This number would be available for six months to cover initial theatre entry. For a longer term commitment the total would reduce.

All the pool of forces and capabilities which the UK has identified in response to the EU's Headline Goal, are also potentially available to NATO (for which a range of other forces are also available).

The UK does not earmark troops for use by the UN or other bodies. However under the UN's Standby Arrangements System, designed to facilitate the rapid deployment of forces once political decisions have been made, we have declared a range of capabilities from the UK Joint Rapid Reaction Force as potentially available for peacekeeping operations. This was undertaken in a Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and the UN.

The forces declared as potentially available for an EU-led operation are not committed to current standing tasks.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list those occasions since May 1997 on which defence assets were (a) hired out and (b) loaned to a private (i) company and (ii) individual; and if he will make a statement on his policy thereon. [156972]

Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) places some 50,000 contracts a year, many of which involve the loan of defence assets in aid of the contract. Under the terms of exemption 9 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information details regarding the hire or loan of defence equipment could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

It is MOD's general policy to raise charges for any equipment that is loaned out to private companies or individuals. These charges are normally raised at a level that ensures MOD's costs are recovered.

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Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made in the investigation into allegations of accounting irregularities and financial malpractice on the Tornado maintenance programme; how many Defence Police Fraud Squad officers were attached to the case; when investigations will be completed; and if he will make a statement. [157593]

Mr. Spellar: I refer the right hon. and learned Gentleman to my answer of 13 July 2000, Official Report, column 635W. This remains an operational policing matter. I understand that varying numbers of officers have been assigned to the investigation at different stages. The Ministry of Defence Police Fraud Squad are currently awaiting the results of inquiries which it is hoped will enable them to take the investigation forward. At this stage it is not possible to predict when it is likely to be completed.

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of the Tornado GR1/GR4 fleet are operationally deployable; what percentage of the fleet this represents; and if he will make a statement. [157589]

Mr. Spellar: 122 of a total of 181, or 67 per cent. of Tornado GR1/GR4 aircraft in the active fleet are allocated to the front line. Of these, all are potentially capable of being deployed. The specific numbers available vary from day-to-day depending on aircraft serviceability. However, there are sufficient aircraft of both marks of Tornado to meet current operational, training and immediate readiness requirements.

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the scheduled deployments for the Tornado GR4 for the next year; indicating in each case the date and duration of deployment and the number of aircraft to be deployed; and if he will make a statement. [157639]

Mr. Spellar: Tornado GR4 aircraft are scheduled to undertake the following major deployments in the year from 1 April 2001. The number of aircraft in each deployment is shown in brackets:

Royal Navy Shore Establishments

Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 21 December 2000, Official Report, column 253W, which Royal Navy shore establishments are under review with respect to possible amalgamation or closure. [158526]

Mr. Spellar: A comprehensive review of the utilisation of the Royal Navy's training estate has identified possible efficiencies but is not yet fully complete and requires further work. This work is being taken forward, in conjunction with proposals for the rationalisation of

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specialist training which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence announced in the House as part of the Defence Training Review on 27 March 2001, Official Report, columns 545-46W, to determine the optimum mix of shore establishments to meet the training needs of the Royal Navy. It is not possible to confirm which establishments might be affected until this further work has been completed.

As I announced in a written answer to the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock) on 30 March 2001, Official Report, column 788W, formal consultation is currently under way with the departmental trade unions regarding the proposed streamlining and re-location to Portsmouth of elements of the Commander in Chief Fleet's Headquarters from Northwood as a result of the Fleet First study. No decision will be taken on the re-location until the formal consultation process is complete. Comments have been invited from the unions by 15 May 2001.

Royal Navy Training Estate

Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place a copy of the Royal Navy's study of its training estate in the Library. [158527]

Mr. Spellar: The Naval Recruiting and Training Agency (NRTA) initiated a comprehensive study of the Royal Navy's Training Estate in association with KPMG Consultants in 2000. The initial conclusions are being reviewed in light of the findings of the Defence Training Review which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced in the House on 27 March 2001, Official Report, columns 545-46W, and the proposals for the future fleet HQ which is currently undergoing the formal consultation process. I shall write to the hon. Member once the review of the study's initial conclusions is complete.

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