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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 3 April 2002


Training Expenditure

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the expenditure is on training in the (a) Royal Navy and Royal Marines, (b) the Army and (c) the RAF in (i) the UK and (ii) Scotland. [32459]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 1 February 2002]: The latest best estimates for the amounts spent by the Services' Training Agencies on individual training for the Royal Navy, Army and RAF in the last 12 months are respectively: #403.6 million; #894 million and #404.5 million. These figures are approximate and are in accordance with Resources Accounting and Budgeting (RAB) procedures which incorporate consumption figures not included in a cash budget.

For the Royal Navy, a small proportion of trainee days are spent in Scotland, but separate costs are not recorded for these activities by the Naval Training and Recruiting Agency. The Army Training and Recruiting Agency estimates that its total expenditure in Scotland in the current Financial Year will be #22 million. The majority of the RAF Training Group Defence Agency's training establishments are based either in England or Wales, but the in-year cost of their Outdoor Activity Centre in Scotland for the current financial year is #675,000.

The cash costs of Royal Marines individual training for financial year 2001–02 are projected to be #39.9 million. It is not possible to identify separately Royal Marines training expenditure in Scotland.

Training costs falling to the Service Commands are not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.


Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) army personnel, (b) navy personnel and (c) RAF personnel are deployed on operations; and what percentage is deployed on operations in each case. [45684]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 25 March 2002]: The number of personnel deployed on operations is as follows:

Naval Service3,93811

These figures include both joint and single service deployments and are shown as a percentage of trained strength.

Naval Service figures are as at 25 March 2002.

Army and RAF figures are as at 1 March 2002.

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Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the serviceability rate is of (a) Gazelle, (b) Lynx, (c) Sea King, (d) Chinook and (e) Puma helicopters.[44660]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 19 March 2002]: The serviceability rate for the month of February for (a) Gazelle, (b) Lynx, (c) Sea King, (d) Chinook, and (e) Puma helicopters is shown in the following table:

Aircraft type Average serviceability rateAircraft numbers (actual operating fleet)
Sea King61%84

The hon. Member should note that these figures represent an average taken over the whole month of February. Serviceability figures are influenced by a number of factors and fluctuate daily.

Chinook Crash

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether it is his policy only to review the findings of the air marshals on the reasons for the crash of the ZD 576 Chinook helicopter on 2 June 1994 if there is new evidence in this case; and if he will make a statement.[45860]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 26 March 2002]: As my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Defence made clear in the House on 19 March 2002, it is necessary to look very carefully at the report published by the Select Committee in the other place. We are conducting a detailed study of its analysis of the facts and the interesting technical views expressed. Were new evidence to be determined, this would of course, be fully evaluated.

Anti-aircraft Defences

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether anti-aircraft defences in the United Kingdom have combat identification of friend and foe facilities; and what steps he is taking to ensure that all anti-aircraft defences can use information from air traffic control systems. [46612]

Mr. Ingram: I can confirm that all Ministry of Defence Rapier Ground Based Air Defence assets are equipped with combat identification friend or foe facilities. These assets would be integrated within the military Airspace Surveillance and Control System and communicate, co-ordinate and integrate with military air traffic control services as necessary. A joint operating instruction combining civil and military air

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traffic control and air defence actions within United Kingdom flight information regions has recently been published which enhances co-ordination of airspace activity. It is planned that Royal Marine and Army man portable air defence systems will have friend or foe identification facilities by 2008 and 2004–05 respectively.

West Freugh Airfield

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will retain external consultants to investigate the potential for future commercial development at West Freugh airfield. [45915]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 25 March 2002]: The position has not changed since I answered a similar question from the hon. Member on 21 January 2002, Official Report, column 558W.

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria were used by the Airfield Regulator in assessing the safety of future operations at West Freugh airfield. [45916]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 25 March 2002]: The criteria used by the Regulator to assess the safety of future operations at West Freugh airfield were the adequacy of safety infrastructure and the number of aircraft movements. Regulatory minima are set for both the overall number of movements and the number of fast jet movements in order to maintain the currency of air traffic controllers. The numbers of aircraft movements at West Freugh had fallen below these regulatory minima, leading to the decision to cease full-time airfield operations.

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many air traffic movements were handled at West Freugh airfield in each of the last five years; how many were (a) civilian and (b) military; and of the military movements, from which countries they were from. [45918]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 25 March 2002]: The following aircraft movements took place at West Freugh between 1997 and 2001:


The figures shown do not include overflights. The bulk of military movements shown are in support of the United Kingdom armed forces activities. Foreign aircraft movements are not identified separately in our records.

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when, prior to the announcement of 20 March on closure of the airfield, the next scheduled re-surfacing of the West Freugh airstrip was due to be completed; and at what projected cost. [45975]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 25 March 2002]: Two programmes of re-surfacing work were recommended for 2002 and 2003 at an estimated cost of about #1.6

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million and #0.19 million respectively. However, neither task was included in the maintenance plan and completion dates were not allocated.

Property Managers

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which areas have no property managers in post; how the property in these areas is being managed; and if he will make a statement. [46438]

Dr. Moonie: There are no areas of the Defence Housing Executive which currently do not have Property Managers in post. There are vacancies for two Property Managers at the present time but the posts are currently occupied by other experienced staff from within the relevant property management office on temporary promotion, pending the recruitment of permanent replacements. Property Managers are assisted in their tasks by Assistant Property Managers and other staff.

HMS Sheffield

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 14 March 2002, Official Report, column 1179W (1) if he will list those who gave statements but were not called to give evidence; how many of those who made a statement expressed a wish to give evidence; and if he will make a statement; [45836]

Mr. Ingram: As I informed the hon. Member in my reply to his previous questions on HMS Sheffield, I am satisfied that the Board of Inquiry was conducted in a professional and proper manner and no new information has become available that would warrant the re-opening of this tragic incident. We have no record of any individual who made a statement expressing a wish to give his evidence through being interviewed by the Board. The statements taken from the surviving crew members were available to the Board of Inquiry. The Board interviewed witnesses where it was believed that doing so could assist in its inquiries. The decision as to which witnesses were interviewed was the responsibility of the Board. To publish a list of those who provided statements to the Sheffield Board of Inquiry would be a breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 and a breach of confidentiality, unless the permission of all the individuals involved was first obtained. This could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

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