Previous Section Index Home Page

12 Feb 2004 : Column 1630W—continued



Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what type of armoured patrol vehicles are available to British troops in Afghanistan. [153053]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 5 February 2004]: There are currently 10 Saxon light armoured personnel carriers deployed with British Forces in Kabul.

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future plans for an expanded NATO peacekeeping mission in Northern Afghanistan; and what the British involvement will be. [154757]

Mr. Ingram: The United Kingdom strongly supports the further expansion beyond Kabul of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) under NATO, and will play its full part in helping the Alliance to make that goal a reality. In particular, and subject to the agreement of our partners in NATO and the ISAF, we are ready to build upon the success of our Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Mazar-e-Sharif and play a leading role in expanding the ISAF in Northern Afghanistan. Final decisions on the nature of our future

12 Feb 2004 : Column 1631W

military commitment to the ISAF will depend on the outcome of NATO operational planning, and agreement with our partners in the ISAF.

Aircraft Carriers

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which aircraft carriers he plans to have available for service in 2014. [154668]

Mr. Ingram: On current plans, the first of the larger and more capable CVF class of aircraft carriers will be in service in 2014.

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if it remains his policy that the Invincible Class carriers shall remain in service until replaced by the new aircraft carriers. [154669]

Mr. Ingram: The Royal Navy Invincible Class carriers (CVS) will be replaced as part of a phased replacement programme by the larger and more capable carriers (CVF) in the first half of the next decade.

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reason the decommissioning date of HMS Ark Royal has been brought forward to 2013. [154667]

Mr. Ingram: The decommissioning date for HMS Ark Royal has not been brought forward. On current plans it remains towards the end of 2013.

Apache Helicopters

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many Apache helicopters are in use at RAF Shawbury; [153969]

Mr. Ingram: Storage of Apache Mkl aircraft at RAF Shawbury commenced in June 2002. There are now 25 aircraft at RAF Shawbury with a value of £27 million each that have been accepted and paid for. Each Apache in storage is fully maintained and supported but is not used operationally or for training purposes from RAF Shawbury.

Army Training

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what minimum training requirements are in place for the (a) Regular Army and (b) Territorial Army prior to deployment on operations. [154023]

Mr. Ingram: As a minimum, Regular personnel are to have completed their mandatory Individual Training Directives (Army) and the Pre-Deployment Training package delivered by the Operational Training and Advisory Group.

As a minimum, Territorial Army personnel have to be designated 'Fit For Role' and attend the Reinforcement Holding Unit for an eight day period of intensive revision of their Individual Training Directives (Army)

12 Feb 2004 : Column 1632W

prior to deployment. They also receive the same mandatory theatre-specific Pre-Deployment Training provided to Regular personnel.

Challenger II Tanks

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Challenger II tanks are currently operational. [152606]

Mr. Ingram: As at January 2004, 58 per cent. of our Challenger II Main Battle Tanks available for operations were classed as 'Fit'. Equipment is deemed to be 'Fit' if it meets the inspection criteria stated in the relevant Army Equipment Support Publication Inspections Standards for all operational and peacetime legal and safety requirements. Many of the tanks classified as not 'Fit' require only minor work in terms of spares or labour to rectify the problem, and many of these would be able to undertake their prescribed role in an operational environment.

Civil Contingency Reaction Force

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of the reservists who make up the operational capability of Civil Contingency Reaction Forces are on active duty overseas; and if he will make a statement. [154672]

Mr. Ingram: Currently, 852 members of the Civil Contingency Reaction Forces (CCRFs) are mobilised overseas, or on active service in the UK.

This will not affect the operational capability of the CCRFs.

Consultation Documents

Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the individuals and organisations to whom (a) his Department, (b) its executive agencies and (c) non-departmental public bodies for which his Department is responsible sent a copy of the consultation document, The Armed Forces Pensions Scheme Review. [153850]

Mr. Caplin: The consultation documents on the new pension and compensation schemes were issued in March 2001 by the Ministry of Defence. We are not aware of any copies distributed by the Department's executive agencies or non-departmental public bodies. Copies were sent to the Commanding Officers of every Unit, with a summary leaflet for distribution to all serving personnel. The documents were also placed on the MOD's intranet and Internet sites. In addition, copies were sent to other interested Government Departments, the principal ex-Service organisations, the Defence Select Committee, the Armed Forces Pay Review Body, the Pension Appeal Tribunals and other interested bodies. The Consultation Reports published on each scheme are on the MOD website and provide a full list of those who responded.

Defence Exports (UK Employment)

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment his Department has made of the

12 Feb 2004 : Column 1633W

York University study estimating the impact on UK employment of the Government's promotion of export sales of defence equipment; [153764]

Mr. Ingram: In an assessment undertaken in December 2001, the Department welcomed the York University report on the costs and benefits of defence exports, and endorsed its broad conclusions, while expressing reservations about some of the assumptions made.

Estimates of UK employment dependent on defence exports are published annually in the UK Defence Statistics and on-line at: The Defence Export Services Organisation fulfils a fundamental role in implementing the Government's policy of supporting legitimate UK defence exports. In 2002, the UK defence industry signed export sales orders worth just over £5 billion and successive customer Satisfaction Surveys of the UK defence industry have revealed that over 75 per cent. of this business would not have been achieved without the assistance of DESO.

Defence Medical Services

Mr. Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the future accommodation of nursing staff accommodated at (a) Keogh Barracks, Aldershot and (b) Fort Blockhouse, Gosport. [153886]

Mr. Caplin: There are no nursing staff at Keogh barracks.

Nursing staff accommodated at Fort Blockhouse comprise two groups—Nursing staff employed in the Ministry of Defence Hospital Unit (MDHU) Portsmouth and student military nurses studying at the University of Portsmouth.

On MOD's withdrawal from the management of the Royal Hospital Haslar by 31 March 2007, future options for the accommodation of MDHU nursing staff will be developed in line with progress on the construction of the new Queen Alexandra's Hospital, Cosham.

Military nurse education has been transferred progressively from Portsmouth to Birmingham since September 2001. The MOD is considering a number of options for the future provision of Service accommodation at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine.

Mr. Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) establishment and (b) current strength is of each medical specialty in the Defence Medical Services. [153883]

Mr. Caplin: As at 1 October 2003, the latest period for which figures are available, the Defence Medical Services had a trained strength of 414 doctors, against an establishment of 655. These figures, broken down by specialty, are as follows:

12 Feb 2004 : Column 1634W

SpecialtyEstablishmentTrained strength
Secondary care consultants
General Physicians2622
Genito Urinary Medicine21
General Surgery3523
Orthopaedic Surgery2517
Burns and Plastics54
Accident and Emergency115
Ophthalmic Surgery33
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery117
Rheumatology and Rehabilitation76
Aviation Medicine61
Sub Total (a)246161
Primary care consultants and GPs
GD (Occupational Medicine2529
Aviation (Royal Navy and Army)612
GD (Public Health)58
General Practice364197
Sub Total (b)409253
Total (a+b)655414


The establishment is the list of funded clinical posts/appointments as of October 2003.

The trained strength represents the number of Consultants and GMPs in each specialty as at 1 October 2003.

In addition to the clinical posts, there are an additional 104 command and staff posts that are currently required to be filled by clinical personnel from the trained strength.

Next Section Index Home Page