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Armed Services Technical Personnel

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the establishment requirement in the Royal Air Force for qualified technical personnel responsible for the maintenance of equipment serviceability in operational units and maintenance depots, stating in each case the (a) specialty requirement, (b) manning levels and (c) percentage difference from establishment requirement; and if he will make a statement. [25897]

Mr. Ingram: The specific information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The table shows the requirement and trained strength, as at 1 December 2001, of RAF branches and trades involved in work relating to the maintenance of equipment serviceability.

Branch/TradeRequirementTrained strength±Percentage
Engineer Officer1,7451,74500
Engineering Technician Airframe4,5104,7182084.6
Engineering Technician Propulsion2,5442,7191756.9
Engineering Technician Weapon2,0482,1491014.9
Engineering Technician Avionics3,3053,376712.1
Engineering Technician Aircraft Electrical1,9221,844-78-4.0
Engineering Technician Electronics2,3592,104-255-10.8
General Technician Electrical646591-55-8.5
General Technician Ground Support Equipment74575050.7
General Technician Workshops1231502721.9
Mechanical Transport Technician43043771.6

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Not all personnel in the branches and trades listed are permanently employed on operational or maintenance units. Some are required to undergo other duties or further specialist trade training. Generally speaking, surplus personnel are employed in the ground trade posts that may be filled by trained personnel of any trade. Measures are being taken to ameliorate the impact of the deficits and surpluses wherever possible.

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the establishment requirement in the Army for qualified technical personnel responsible for the

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maintenance of equipment serviceability in operational units and maintenance depots, stating in each case the (a) specialty requirement, (b) manning levels and (c) percentage difference from establishment requirement; and if he will make a statement. [25898]

Mr. Ingram: The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) are the qualified specialist corps responsible for the technical maintenance of equipment within the Army. The table shows the REME trades involved in work relating to the maintenance of equipment, as at 1 December 2001.

Requirement(1)Strength(2)Shortfall ±Percentage
Career Employment Group
Artificer Aircraft88140+5259.1
Artificer Avionics4560+1533.3
Artificer Electronics91141+5054.9
Artificer Instruments2452+28116.7
Artificer Radar4372+2967.4
Artificer Telecommunications2862+34121.4
Artificer Vehicles478515+377.7
Artificer Weapons81122+4150.6
Technician Aircraft580569-11-1.9
Technician Avionics265272+72.6
Technician Control Equipment345336-9-2.6
Technician Instruments215210-5-2.3
Technician Radar191200+94.7
Technician Telecommunications210175-35-16.7
Armourer643506-137-21.3
Metalsmith229207-22-9.6
Recovery Mechanic591457-134-22.7
Shipwright2923-6-20.7
Vehicle Electrician556363-193-34.7
Vehicle Mechanic4,0713,136-935-23.0
Total8,8037,618-1,185-13.5
REME Officers875817-58-6.6

Sources:

(1) DASA (Army)

(2) REME Manning and Career Management Division


Currently the overall shortfalls are 6.6 per cent. officers and 13.5 per cent. soldiers. Staff in trades for which surpluses are shown are employed within trades that are currently undermanned.

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the establishment requirement in the Royal Navy for qualified technical personnel responsible for the maintenance of equipment serviceability in operational units and maintenance depots, stating in each case the (a) specialty requirement, (b) manning levels and (c) percentage difference from establishment requirement; and if he will make a statement. [25899]

Mr. Ingram: The respective requirement, strength and percentage difference for each category of technical specialist in the Royal Navy are as shown in the table.

SpecialisationRequirementBearingShortfall (percentage)
Weapon Engineer Officer746733-1.7
Marine Engineer Officer652640-1.8
Air Engineer Officer346312-9.8
Weapon Engineering Artificer1,6611,523-8.3
Marine Engineering Artificer2,0501,972-3.8
Air Engineering Artificer984961-2.3
Weapon Engineering Mechanic785762-2.9
Marine Engineering Mechanic3,5143,225-8.2
Air Engineering Mechanic2,2402,273+1.4

Currently the overall shortfall is 3.38 per cent officers and 4.61 per cent. ratings. However, all the RN's operational seagoing engineer officer posts are filled, and operational capability is being protected by giving priority to filling front-line posts for ratings. A number of measures are in hand to improve the shortfall.

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FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Indonesia

Mr. Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the situation in Sulawesi, Indonesia, with particular reference to recent bombings of four churches in the area. [28062]

Mr. Bradshaw: We continue to monitor events in the province of central Sulawesi closely. Sporadic clashes between Muslims and Christians in and around Poso, and more recently between Muslims and the security forces, continued after three Christian militia leaders were sentenced to death on 5 April 201 for their part in killings in May and June 2000. On 19 November 2001, the Supreme Court in Jakarta dismissed appeals by the three militia leaders against the death sentence.

On 23 November 2001, our chargé d'affaires in Jakarta raised our concerns about the escalating violence with Bambang Yudhoyono, the Indonesian Co-ordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs. Mr. Yudhoyono confirmed that police and military reinforcements had been despatched to Poso to help contain the situation. During a visit to Central Sulawesi on 5 December 2001, Mr. Yudhoyono announced that President Megawati had ordered a six-month security restoration plan for the province. The Indonesian Government subsequently brokered an agreement between the warring factions to end the fighting which was signed on 20 December. This appears to be holding up reasonably well, although four bombs exploded outside churches in the region on new year's eve. The culprits are unknown but both Christian and Muslim leaders have appealed for calm.

HMG have consistently made clear their view that long-term solutions to regional conflicts can be achieved only through negotiation and consultation. We continue to work with the Indonesian authorities to promote reconciliation, begin wider reconstruction work and offer practical assistance where appropriate. As part of our effort to support conflict prevention initiatives, the British Government recently funded a series of Conflict Reporting training workshops for journalists in various provinces in Indonesia, which included participants from Poso.

Karine A

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what assessment he has made of the source of funds that financed the arms shipment on Karine A; and if he will make a statement; [28247]

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Mr. Bradshaw: The discovery of the arms shipment on the Karine A is a serious matter. We have seen evidence linking the shipment to Palestinian officials. But the extent of Palestinian Authority involvement and details of the origin destination and funding for the arms remain unclear. Israeli and Palestinian Authority inquiries are in hand. In a meeting with President Arafat on 15 January I urged him to investigate Palestinian involvement thoroughly and present his findings quickly.

Meanwhile the parties should not be deflected from the urgent business of implementing the Tenet Security Plan and Mitchell Committee recommendations.


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