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Naval Deployments

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which Royal Navy ships have been deployed for periods exceeding five months in each of the past four years. [26680]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 11 January 2002]: Following is a list of Royal Navy ships which have been deployed for periods exceeding five months in each of the past four years. It is standard practice to deploy ships for six month periods.

Ship From To Reason for deploymentPeriod of deployment (months)
Invincible2 September 199726 March 1998USA/Gulf6
Monmouth5 September 19971 March 1998Op. Palliser6
Newcastle17 November 199710 July 1998Atlantic Patrol Task (north)8
Coventry1 January 19985 June 1998Armilla6
Manchester12 January 19989 July 1998Standing Naval Force Atlantic6
Montrose12 January 19986 August 1998Atlantic Patrol Task (south)7
Cornwall16 February 199814 August 1998Op. Resilient6
York5 March 199823 October 1998Armilla7
Grafton14 April 199821 December 1998Armilla8
Edinburgh27 April 199826 November 1998Atlantic Patrol Task (south)7
Lancaster15 June 199825 November 1998Standing Naval Force Atlantic5
Sheffield17 June 199818 December 1998Atlantic Patrol Task (north)6
Sutherland4 September 199826 March 1999Atlantic Patrol Task (south)6
Cumberland8 September 199813 May 1999Armilla8
Norfolk5 January 199917 June 1999Standing Naval Force Atlantic5
Newcastle9 January 199927 May 1999Armilla5
Marlborough12 January 19991 July 1999Atlantic Patrol Task (north)6
Iron Duke15 January 199927 July 1999Standing Naval Force Mediterranean6
Westminster26 January 199912 July 1999Atlantic Patrol Task (south)6
Glasgow1 March 199911 November 1999Five Powers Defence Agreement8
Birmingham3 May 199911 November 1999Armilla6
Northumberland7 June 19997 December 1999Atlantic Patrol Task (North)6
Exeter13 September 199910 March 2000Armilla6
Somerset13 September 19998 March 2000Atlantic Patrol Task (south)6
Campbeltown7 January 200027 July 2000Standing Naval Force Atlantic6
Montrose10 January 200028 July 2000Standing Naval Force Mediterranean6
Illustrious15 January 200014 June 2000Gulf5
Monmouth18 January 200027 July 2000Armilla6
Manchester31 January 200021 July 2000Atlantic Patrol Task (north)6
Southampton11 February 200018 August 2000Armilla6
Newcastle2 May 200023 November 2000Five Powers Defence Agreement6
Argyll8 May 200010 November 2000Atlantic Patrol Task (south)6
Marlborough27 May 20003 November 2000Armilla6
York31 August 200018 December 2000Standing Naval Force Mediterranean5
Iron Duke16 September 200023 February 2001Atlantic Patrol Task (south)5
Cumberland18 September 200021 March 2001Armilla6
Lancaster22 January 200126 July 2001Armilla6
Glasgow5 February 20013 August 2001Atlantic Patrol Task (south)6
Sheffield8 February 20019 AugustAtlantic Patrol Task (north)6
Gloucester19 March 200119 October 2001Five Powers Defence Agreement7
Edinburgh15 May 200116 November 2001Atlantic Patrol Task (south)6
Northumberland4 June 200131 December 2001Armilla6

14 Jan 2002 : Column 57W

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of Royal Naval personnel are involved in operations. [26681]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 11 January 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 10 December 2001, Official Report, columns 531–32W.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which Royal Navy ships have been away from their base port in excess of 60 per cent. of the time, averaged over the past two years. [26675]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 11 January 2002]: Over the past two years, two ships have been deployed from their home bases for an average of more than 60 per cent. of the time. HMS Triumph, was deployed from her home base at Devonport for an average of 68 per cent. of the time; and HMS Lancaster was deployed from her home base at Portsmouth for an average of 64 per cent. of the time over the past two years.

Ptarmigan System

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement outlining the extent to which the deficiencies in the Ptarmigan communications system impairs the operational effectiveness of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps. [23775]

Mr. Ingram: The Ptarmigan system has supported successful operations by the ARRC during recent deployments to Bosnia and Kosovo. However, if advances in modern computing and communications technology are to be fully utilised by our forces, we recognise that Ptarmigan does not offer, in the longer term, the most effective solution. Therefore, plans are in place to replace Ptarmigan through Project Falcon from 2006 onwards. I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Dr. Moonie) on 9 January 2002, Official Report, column 829W, for evidence of our continuing commitment to maximising the ARRC's operational effectiveness through the full range of modern and robust communications systems.

14 Jan 2002 : Column 58W

Export Licences

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many 680 approvals have been given each year since 1 May 1997; how many have led to export licence applications; and how many such licences have been approved. [25733]

Dr. Moonie: The F680 process is an informal process under which companies can obtain advice on the prospects for approval of exports at the marketing stage. The F680 also gives formal clearance for release of classified information, where required, for marketing purposes. The number of clearances for each of the years for which data are held, is as follows:

YearF680s cleared

It is not possible to correlate data about F680 clearances with data relating to the export licensing process since the processes are quite separate. For example, F680s may be seeking advice in general terms about marketing prospects which may relate partially to the export that is eventually licensed. It is routinely made clear to exporters that advice in response to F680 applications does not prejudge a decision on the eventual consideration of an export licence application.

RAF Deployments

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of personnel have exceeded 140 nights away from home, in the most recent 12-month period for which figures are available, in (a) 33 Squadron, (b) 10 Squadron, (c) 101 Squadron, (d) 24 Squadron, (e) 30 Squadron, (f) 47 Squadron, (g) 70 Squadron, (h) 7 Squadron, (i) 18 Squadron and (j) 27 Squadron. [26678]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 11 January 2002]: The RAF Separated Service Recording System records periods of absence of three days or more. The table shows the percentage of RAF personnel on each squadron who have exceeded 140 days away from home on separated service in the 12-month period ending 30 September 2001.

14 Jan 2002 : Column 59W

Percentage of trained strength spending more than 140 days away from home

SquadronOperational/routine tasksAll reasons(15)

(15) Includes absences due to normal career development training, resettlement and expedition training, sport and permanent detachments from parent unit.

RAF commitments are regularly reviewed and adjusted as soon as circumstances allow. Operational deployments continue only for as long as is necessary to meet agreed objectives.

Defence Contracts

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contractual safeguards are in place in the event of a company winning a Ministry of Defence contract going bankrupt; and if he will make a statement. [25869]

Dr. Moonie: In the event of various circumstances of insolvency or bankruptcy such as the appointment of an administrative receiver, or a receiver, or a company being wound up, the Ministry of Defence has the right to terminate the contract without recompense to the contractor. This is achieved by the terms of DEFCON 515 (Bankruptcy and Insolvency) which is included in all MOD headquarters contracts. The most effective means of dealing with this issue is to have a system that reduces the risk of placing contracts with suppliers of limited financial capability. The MOD employs such a system, but that risk cannot be entirely eliminated.

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