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National Missile Defence

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what expenditure has been incurred by his Department on evaluating the likely cost and impact of any National Missile Defence facilities located in the UK. [5916]

Mr. Hoon: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which UK military officials were present during the recent National Missile Defence tests held by the United States of America. [5917]

Mr. Hoon: None, though an official from the British Defence Staff (Washington) watched live footage of the test at a US Department of Defence facility in Washington DC on the night of 14 July.

Service Personnel (Columbia)

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many personnel from Colombia have been (a) attached to and (b) trained by UK military establishments in each of the past five years. [5921]

Mr. Ingram: None.

Meteor Missile

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the in-service date of the Meteor missile is; and if he will make a statement. [6200]

Dr. Moonie: The approved in-service date of Meteor is 2012. Meteor will provide the RAF with a world class missile and the programme demonstrates the clear commitment of the UK and its European partners to working together to deliver capability, for the benefit of our armed forces and our defence industry.

Pensions

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the entitlement of widows and widowers to keep their armed forces pension following remarriage. [5460]

Dr. Moonie: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence and the Social Security Minister announced, on 20 July 2000, that change would be made to the Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS) to allow widows and widowers in receipt of an attributable forces family pension to retain their pension if they remarry or cohabit. These changes took effect from 31 October. Previously, an attributable widow's pension was withdrawn on remarriage or cohabitation, although it would have been automatically restored on second widowhood or at the end of a period of cohabitation. Those widows or widowers who had already remarried, and have had their attributable pension withdrawn, were

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not included in the change. Those in receipt of a War Widows' Pension payable under the Naval, Military and Air Force Etc. (Disablement and Death) Service Pensions Order 1983, or a non-attributable widows or widowers' AFPS pension are also not affected by the change; their pensions will still cease on remarriage or cohabitation.

Defence Contracts

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many defence contracts are out to tender; what time scale is placed on each contract; and what is the estimated value of each contract. [6205]

Dr. Moonie: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Wind Farms

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when his Department was consulted on the proposals for off-shore wind farms at Cleveleys, Lancashire; and what comments it made. [6052]

Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence was consulted on the proposed off-shore wind farm at Cleveleys, Lancashire (also known as Shell Flats) on 27 April 2001. The response, dated 16 July 2001, objected to the proposed siting of a wind farm at this position because it lies within 15 miles of BAE Systems Ltd. Warton. The MOD applies planning safeguards to this airfield because of its use for the developmental test and evaluation flying of new military aircraft.

Mission Simulator

Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the software for the full mission simulator at Middle Wallop will be certified; and when he expects the Army Air Corps helicopter pilots will be training on the FMS. [6104]

Dr. Moonie: Software problems have delayed the availability of the Full Mission Simulator (FMS) for the UK WAH-64 Apache Attack helicopter. We currently expect the FMS to be available by May 2002, which will allow Army Air Corps pilots to begin training on it from June 2002.

MOD Sites

Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his Department's approach to company accreditation, registration and certification in relation to the potential sale to companies of his Department's redundant sites. [5553]

Dr. Moonie: When disposing of redundant sites, prior to accepting an offer, the Ministry of Defence checks the financial status of the company purchasing the site to ensure they have sufficient funds to complete the sale.

Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if it is his Department's policy to sell his Department's redundant sites to unregistered companies. [5554]

Dr. Moonie: It is the Ministry of Defence's policy to sell redundant sites at the highest price, and this could result in a sale to a registered or unregistered company.

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Armaments Contracts

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will provide a breakdown by nation and region of the UK of the total value of current MOD armaments contracts. [5703]

Dr. Moonie: Data on defence contracts are not collated under the heading "armaments". However, I draw the hon. Member's attention to the publication "UK Defence Statistics 2000", a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. Table 1.9 contains information on defence expenditure on equipment in the UK regions.

MOD Housing

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans the Government have to regain ownership from Annington Homes of former Ministry of Defence residential accommodation which is rented to provide housing for military personnel; and if he will make a statement. [6326]

Dr. Moonie: There are no plans for the Ministry of Defence to regain ownership from Annington Homes of the Service Families Estate.

Upholder Class Submarines

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proceeds have been derived from the sale of the Upholder submarines to Canada. [6201]

Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my noble Friend Lord Robertson, the then Secretary of State for Defence, gave on 6 April 1998, Official Report, column 56W, to the hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Healey) and my answers to the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock) on 23 October 2000, Official Report, column 30W, and 19 December 2000, Official Report, column 89W, the hon. Member for New Forest, East (Dr. Lewis) on 27 October 2000, Official Report, column 341W and the hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr. Duncan Smith) on 20 December 2000, Official Report, column 184W. Canada has acquired the four ex-Royal Navy Upholder class submarines. The acquisition takes the form of an eight year lease with an option of outright purchase.

The first of the submarines was handed over to Canada on 6 October 2000 and the three remaining submarines will follow over the next 18 months. Canada has exercised its option to purchase outright the first of the submarines HMCS Victoria.

Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what were the refurbishment costs for the four Upholder class submarines prior to their leasing to the Canadian Government. [6105]

Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my noble Friend Lord Robertson, the then Secretary of State for Defence, gave on 6 April 1998, Official Report, column 56W, to the hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Healey) and my answers to the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock) on 23 October 2000, Official Report, column 30W and 19 December 2000, Official Report, column 89W, the hon. Member for New Forest, East (Dr. Lewis) on 27 October 2000, Official Report, column 341W and the hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr. Duncan Smith)

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on 20 December 2000, Official Report, column 184W. Canada has acquired the four ex-Royal Navy Upholder class submarines. The acquisition takes the form of an eight year lease with an option of outright purchase.

The submarines are being refurbished by BAE Systems Marine Ltd., Barrow-in-Furness to a standard acceptable to the Royal Navy. The cost of the refurbishment of the submarines is commercially sensitive and I am withholding the details in accordance with Exemption 13 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many PFI transactions have been overseen by his Department in each of the last 10 years; what his estimate is of the cost savings made in each of these transactions in comparison with the public sector alternative; what are the outstanding payments to be made in relation to these transactions for each of the next 15 years; and if he will make statement; [5795]

Mr. Ingram: I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.


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