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Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what studies have been carried out by his Department into alternatives to cluster munitions for replacement of the BL 755 when it reaches the end of its service life. 
Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence keeps under continuous review its capability requirements in this area. To date, studies have concluded that the roles currently met by BL 755 are likely to be carried out by a range of different weapons in the future. Some of the roles will be met by existing or planned systems such as Maverick and Brimstone. This work has also concluded that cluster bombs will still retain some utility, particularly against area targets such as storage depots and concentrations of lighter armoured vehicles. No other weapon is currently available to meet the same military objectives. To fulfil the same role as cluster bombs with unitary bombs would require a far greater weight of explosives, which would risk far greater damage than using cluster bombs.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether guidance on the handling of prisoners in Afghanistan is issued by each coalition member for its own armed forces; and what standardisation has taken place. 
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Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the guidance on the handling of prisoners in Afghanistan issued by his Department takes into account the 1977 Additional Protocols to the 1949 Geneva Conventions. 
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether members of Her Majesty's armed forces are operating in areas of Afghanistan subject to recent attacks with cluster bombs; and what guidance has been issued to personnel on safety in relation to unexploded submunitions. 
Mr. Ingram: Years of conflict have left a wide variety of unexploded ordnance in Afghanistan. Before deployment, members of the armed forces are routinely given advice about the types of munitions they may encounter.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what extra expenditure has been incurred by his Department as a result of the failure of the advanced short-range air-to-air missile to achieve its original in-service date; and if he intends to claim back the extra expenditure from the manufacturer; 
Dr. Moonie [holding answer 29 January 2002]: The Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) entered service in January 2002. As a result of a delay in the In Service Date, the Ministry of Defence has incurred additional costs of approximately £7 million. These include extra intramural expenditure and costs arising from the need to maintain Sidewinder missiles in service.
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During the period in question we have also been without the additional capability provided by the ASRAAM missile. Liquidated damages associated with the late delivery of the missiles are being claimed from the manufacturer. Overall, the total procurement cost of ASRAAM remains less than the original approved cost.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much the series of improved software releases to enhance MBDA's advanced short-range air-to-air missile will cost; when the final improved software releases are expected to be completed; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Moonie: The cost of the additional software releases to achieve ASRAAM's Full Operational Capability will be borne by the contractor, MBDA UK Ltd. (formerly Matra BAe Dynamics), and is a matter for them.
Mr. Hoon: Some US nuclear weapons remain based in the UK in accordance with long-standing NATO policy. Nuclear forces based in Europe and committed to NATO provide an essential political and military link between the European and North American members of the Alliance. I am withholding any further details under Exemption 1 (Defence, Security and International Relations) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
Mr. Hoon: The 1998 Strategic Defence Review concluded that the 58 Trident missile bodies already purchased from the USA would be sufficient to maintain a credible nuclear deterrent posture. While I am withholding information on the number of warheads deployed on each missile under Exemption 1 (Defence, Security and International Relations) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, I can confirm that, when on deterrence patrol, Trident submarines carry 48 nuclear warheads.
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Mr. Ingram: Thirty-two Non-Commissioned Officers are recorded as having applied for premature voluntary release and had not been discharged from the Army or transferred to the Reserve prior to 1 December 2001.
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) Challenger II tanks, (b) Warrior, (c) Saxon, (d) FV430, (e) Sabre, (f) Scimitar, (g) Striker, (h) Spartan, (i) Sultan, (j) Samson, (k) Samaritan armoured vehicles, (l) Challenger recovery vehicles, (m) Stormer, (n) Shielder, (o) Fuchs NBC vehicle, (p) AS 90, (q) MLRS and (r) M578 were fully operational in (i) the quarter ending 31 December 2001, (ii) the first three quarters of 2001, (iii) each quarter of 2000 and (iv) each quarter of 1999; what percentage of fleet size this represents; and if he will make a statement. 
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