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Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 5 February 2002, Official Report, column 856W, regarding the ownership of the Throckmorton airfield site (known as Pershore), and the answers I gave to the hon. Member for North Essex (Mr. Jenkin) on 13 March 2002, Official Report, columns 1162W1164W, where I listed all the freehold and leasehold sites transferred to QinetiQ plc as part of the DERA PPP process, and commented on their development in the future.
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Mr. Ingram: No assessment has yet been made of the employment opportunities in the United Kingdom created by the contract for Military Support Vehicles. Companies tendering for the contract have been asked to include proposals for UK Industrial Participation in their bids. The bids are expected by the 25 June 2002.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what financial checks will be made on each of the companies bidding for the contract for military support vehicles by his Department before a decision is taken. 
Mr. Ingram: Following expressions of interest in this procurement prior to the issue of invitations to tender, a financial check of each potential bidder was undertaken. A further assessment will be made upon receipt of bids.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many soliders have been affected by dysentry in the last 12 months; if it is clear what caused it; how many soldiers have been put into quarantine in Afghanistan; if the source of any poisoning has been found; and whether other coalition forces have been affected. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 20 May 2002]: According to available records, over the 12 months period up to 30 April 2002, there were six cases of dysentery amongst Army personnel. Two were cases of amoebic dysentery which is caused by a parasitic infection, and four were cases of Shigella Sonnei dysentery caused by a bacterial infection.
Twenty-eight Service personnel in Afghanistan are being or have been treated by 34 Field Hospital for Winter Vomiting Disease. Winter Vomiting Disease is caused by an organism called small round structured virus (SRSV) which is the most common cause of gut infection in this country. Some 340 Service personnel in Afghanistan were placed in isolation while the nature of the illness was being investigated. Following confirmation of the underlying cause and measures put in place to control the outbreak, the quarantine of 34 Field Hospital and the Camp in which it is located has now been lifted. We are not aware of any coalition forces who are similarly affected.
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Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of Parachute Regiment personnel deployed in Afghanistan were Territorial Army; and what was the overall personnel shortfall. 
Mr. Ingram: A contingent from the 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment was deployed to Afghanistan between 1 January and 10 April 2002. The size of the contingent was dictated by the assessment of the mission at the time. There was no personnel shortfall and therefore no need to augment the contingent from elsewhere in the Regular Army or the Territorial Army (TA). Two members of the TA from the Parachute Regiment have been mobilised for service in Afghanistan, and they have served in the brigade headquarters.
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of the total costs of UK operations in Afghanistan will come from the Ministry of Defence budget; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: All the additional costs incurred on Operations in Afghanistan identified in 200102 were funded from the Conflict Prevention Pool budget and the Treasury Reserve as detailed in the Spring Supplementary Estimates 200102.
Mr. Ingram: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 12 March 2002, Official Report, column 870W. The task force formed around 45 Commando is concentrating on operations against remnants of the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
Mr. Hoon: British troops in Afghanistan have been carrying out both security assistance and combat tasks; this dual role has not caused any significant problems. The United Kingdom has led, and made a substantial contribution to, the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul since its inception. Our troops have been widely praised for their work in helping the Interim Administration to maintain security and stability in Kabul as the Afghans begin the rebuilding of their shattered country. The number of British troops committed to ISAF in Kabul is now under 1,400, compared with 2,100 at its peak. We welcomed Turkey's announcement on 29 April that it would take over the leadership from the UK, and are finalising the arrangements.
The deployment to Afghanistan of a battlegroup of up to 1,700 troops formed around 45 Commando Royal Marines has also produced significant results. The Royal Marines have so far completed three operations. All three have contributed towards denying the terrorists the opportunity to regroup, operate, and destabilise the peace process in Afghanistan. This is vital if Afghan society is to return to normality.
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Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what was (a) the start date, (b) the conclusion date and (c) the cost of (i) Operation Ptarmigan, (ii) Operation Snipe and (iii) Operation Condor; and if he will make a statement;  (2) what the average cost is (a) per month, (b) per day and (c) in total of United Kingdom contributions to ISAF; and if he will make a statement;  (3) what the average cost is (a) per month, (b) per day and (c) in total of Royal Marine operations in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: Operation PTARMIGAN began on 15 April and concluded on 18 April. Operation SNIPE began on 1 May and concluded on 13 May. Operation CONDOR commenced on 17 May and concluded on 22 May. The costs of these Operations cannot be separated from the overall cost of Operation JACANA.
The costs of the United Kingdom contributions to ISAF and the Royal Marines operations in Afghanistan are not incurred on a daily basis and to make such a calculation would be artificial and misleading. I will write to the hon. Member as soon as an estimate has been produced and actual monthly costs are available, and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Ingram: A total of 25 C130J aircraft have been delivered to the Ministry of Defence and no further aircraft are on order. Twenty-three are in-service with the RAF and the remaining two are on loan to QinetiQ.
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how far lack of availability of C17 aircraft has increased dependency on C130 Mk1 and C130 Mk3; what effect this has had on forces' training that would normally involve C130 Mk1 and C130 Mk3; and what resulting cancellations there have been in training in the last two years. 
Mr. Ingram: At no point during its service to date has unavailability of the C17 contributed to an increased dependency on the operation of Hercules C130K aircraft. The high flying rate of the C17 has, in part, been as a result of attempts to relieve the workload on other aircraft, including the Hercules C130. Increased utilisation of the C130 is attributable only to the upsurge in Operational flying and would have been exacerbated had the C17 aircraft not been available.
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what restrictions there are on the use of the leased C17s; and if these differ from restrictions imposed on the USAF in their lease of the C17. 
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Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the current operational status and serviceability of the RAF's four leased C17A Globemaster III transport aircraft. 
Mr. Ingram: There are four C17 aircraft in operational service with the RAF, which provide an outsize strategic airlift capability and supplement the existing air transport capability. On 22 May 2002, three of the four aircraft were fully serviceable and conducting operations. One aircraft was undergoing routine pre-planned maintenance. Since the arrival of the C17 into RAF service, it has consistently performed above expectations, while its serviceability record has been comparable with that of the Hercules fleet.
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