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Mr. Ingram: The UK has 144 Eurofighter-Typhoon Tranche 1 and 2 aircraft on order. This forms part of the 384 aircraft currently under contract by the four partner nations. The unit production cost of Tranche 1 and 2 Typhoon, as published in Major Projects Report 2005, is £64.8 million.
Mr. Ingram: HMS Endurance had developed a rudder defect which required repair in dry dock for a short period before the ship could continue her operational programme. The work is being undertaken in the Puerto Belgrano Naval Base in Argentina, which is the nearest dry dock with the requisite facilities.
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 15 March 2006]: The Iraqi navy (formerly the Iraqi Coastal Defence Force) has made significant progress since 2003 under the auspices of the Royal Navy and Coalition partners. The UK has played a lead role in this development by providing a Naval Assistance and Training Team of almost 50 personnel at Umm Qasr Naval Base, officer training at Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth, and seaborne support to the Iraqi navy and Marines during maritime security operations in the northern Arabian Gulf.
Mr. Touhig: There have been no reports of soldiers on operational tour in Iraq going absent without leave (AWOL) over the period in question. However, this does not include those individuals who may have gone AWOL while returning partway through their tour of Iraq on rest and recuperation or for other reasons; this level of data is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Borrow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many meetings (a) he, (b) his Ministers and (c) staff from his Department have had with (i) US defence officials and (ii) members of Congress to discuss the Joint Strike Fighter programme; and what the purpose of these meetings was in each case. 
Mr. Ingram: I refer my hon. Friend to the statement made in my answer of 3 March to the hon. Member for Gravesham (Mr. Holloway), Official Report, column 1000W, and to my answer of 23 January to the right hon. Member for Fylde (Mr. Jack), Official Report, column 1714W. Regular discussions take place at all levels with the US Administration on all aspects of the Joint Strike Fighter programme. Ministry of Defence and other Ministers continue to raise project issues during their discussions with key members of the US Administration, including testimony by my noble Friend the Minister for Defence Procurement (Lord Drayson) and the Chief of the Air Staff to the Senate Armed Services Committee on 14 March.
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In light of current operational planning assumptions, the tri-Service manning requirement for the Defence Medical Services (DMS) is currently under review. As a result, the total DMS requirement figures are expected to decrease in the near future.
All figures have been rounded to the nearest 10. Due to the rounding methods used, figures may not always equal the sum of the parts. When rounding to the nearest 10, numbers ending in five have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his oral statement of 12 December 2005, Official Report, columns 111921, on former Far East Prisoners of War and Civilian Internees (Ex Gratia Scheme), when he expects the review (a) to be completed and (b) to report to Ministers; and when he expects to make a statement to the House. 
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the written statement of 30 January 2006, Official Report, columns 23WS, on the Far East Prisoners of War and Civilian Internees (FEPOW) Scheme, when he expects the independent investigation being conducted by Mr. David Watkins (a) to be completed and (b) to report to Ministers; and when he expects to make a statement to the House. 
Mr. Touhig: The independent investigation I announced in my statement to the House on 30 January is making good progress. I expect David Watkins to give me his final report by the end of June. I will make a statement about its findings as soon as I have considered these and decided how to respond to any recommendations that he may make.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) actual strength and (b) establishment is of (i) nurses and (ii) nursing officers in the Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service. 
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(2) what assessment he has made of the merits of the collocation of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory with (a) the Defence Logistics Organisation and (b) the Defence Procurement Agency. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 10 March 2006]: As a result of a detailed study in 2003, including inter-departmental consultation, it was decided that the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) Trading Fund should undertake a major consolidation of its staff and activities onto three of its existing sites: Porton Down, in Wiltshire, Portsdown West in Hampshire, and Fort Halstead in Kent. The aim wasand remainsto create an integrated laboratory where different technical teams can work closely together with greater synergy and thereby improve the support Dstl gives to its customers in MOD and elsewhere in Government.
Dstl does not currently operate from sites occupied by the Defence Logistics Organisation or Defence Procurement Agency. The additional costs and disruption to operations of collocating at entirely new sites were judged to greatly outweigh the limited benefits that might have resulted. Such a step was, in practice, unlikely to achieve the required business objectives.
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