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Services (Foreign Nationals)

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many foreign nationals are serving in the (a) Army, (b) Royal Navy, and (c) Royal Air Force; which countries they were recruited from; and how many were in each service in 1995. [55447]

Mr. Ingram: The number of foreign nationals serving in the Army in 2002 and 1995 by country is shown on the following table.

There is no nationality marker held on the Personnel Record of Service for the Naval Service although information on ethnicity and religion is held.

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The RAF holds some information on 'not British' personnel, however, data are not accurate enough to provide a reliable estimate.

Nationality (NOW)1 April 19951 April 2002
African Country
Antigua (Leeward Is.)2
Bahama Islands1
Barbuda (Leeward Is.)1
British Commonwealth/Foreign Rest.12
Cameroon Republic1
Dominica (Windward Isl.)11
Dominican Republic2
Falkland Islands21
Grenada (Windward Is.)14
Hong Kong65
Malta GC106
Montserrat (Leeward Is.)22
Namibia (Fmlay SW African)1
New Zealand5846
New Zealand Islands15
Pacific Islands1
Republic of Ireland203204
Sierra Leone26
South Africa9226
Sri Lanka24
St. Helena122
St. Kitts Island21
St. Lucia Island17
St. Vincent Island1168
Tongan Islands3
Trinidad and Tobago1030
West Indies—British93
Grand total6012,659

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Gulf War Syndrome

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the decision made on 22 May by the Pensions Appeal Tribunal to oblige the Government to accept the diagnosis of Gulf War Syndrome in the case of a former member of the UK armed forces. [60332]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 13 June 2002]: The Pensions Appeal Tribunal's decision in the recent case involving "Gulf War Syndrome" is specific to that case. It does not set a legal precedent for other war pension claims. The Tribunal found that the Ministry of Defence had failed to show beyond reasonable doubt that "Gulf War Syndrome" was not attributable to service. However the overwhelming consensus of medical and scientific opinion is that the symptoms reported by some Gulf veterans do not constitute a discrete disorder. It would be wrong to interpret from the Tribunal's finding that "Gulf War Syndrome" does exist.

The fact that there is, at present, no proper basis for recognising "Gulf War Syndrome" as an appropriate diagnostic label does not prevent a Gulf Veteran getting a war pension. A war pension can be paid for any disablement provided that a causal link to service is accepted.


Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his assessment is of the level of airworthiness of the RAF Chinook HC2 fleet at the time of the fatal accident on the Mull of Kintyre on 2 June 1994. [64563]

Mr. Ingram: In November 1993, the Chinook Mk 2 fleet had been given an interim Controller Aircraft (CA) release, permitting the aircraft to be operated at a maximum all-up weight of 18,000 kg. This would have enabled the aircraft to be safely operated on one engine. On 1 March 1994 this weight limit was increased to 22,700 kg when using under-slung-loads. The fleet was given these flight clearances as the Ministry of Defence had no doubts about its safe operation.

Hawk T1

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what representations his Department has received concerning the time required to convert the Hawk T1 trainer into a weapons delivery system; [65426]

Mr. Hoon: The Hawk aircraft has been an exceptionally successful export in both its training and operational roles. The Ministry of Defence does not have available records of representations made on these issues over the years. No Hawk aircraft have been converted to deliver nuclear air-to-surface munitions.

RNAS Yeovilton

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to ensure that the training

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and experience of helicopter pilots at RNAS Yeovilton is up to date. [65199]

Mr. Ingram: A multi-level system exists to ensure that all helicopter aircrew are sufficiently trained to carry out any mission that they may be called upon to undertake.

All helicopter crews initially pass through the military flying training system where standards are set and monitored by the tri-service Central Flying School.

Crews in operational squadrons are monitored by the squadron training officer, who ensures that all crews maintain flying currency in accordance with the flying training directive produced by the Assistant Chief of Staff Aviation.

While in squadron service all crews undertake periodic examinations and flying tests to confirm their proficiency. The Naval Flying Standards Flight, made up of senior, experienced instructors external to the units and squadrons, visits squadrons and examines all aircrew, producing written reports on their capability.


Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the expected service life is of the Lynx Mark 8. [66033]

Mr. Ingram: The Maritime Lynx Helicopter Force based at RNAS Yeovilton operates both the Mk 3 and Mk 8 Lynx aircraft. Both variants are managed as one fleet. The Maritime Lynx was introduced into service in the mid-1970s. At current flying rates, the bulk of the fleet will reach its specified airframe fatigue life limits in 2008, however, the first airframe will be withdrawn for disposal in 2004. The intention is to replace both the Mk 8 and Mk 3 aircraft with the Surface Combatant Maritime Rotorcraft.

MOD Police

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list those locations where more than five MOD police personnel are based. [65715]

Mr. Ingram: The following locations have a permanent complement of more than five Ministry of Defence police officers.

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Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to reduce the number of MOD police. [65717]

Mr. Ingram: The overall strength of the Ministry of Defence police is kept under constant review to ensure that the staffing levels of the force match the tasking requirements. This will involve both the creation and the discontinuance of posts at different locations, and, where appropriate, the transfer of personnel.

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many MOD police there were in (a) 1997 and (b) on the latest date for which figures are available. [65716]

Mr. Ingram: The strength of the force on 31 May 1997 was 3,807 officers and 3,338 on 31 May 2002.

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