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Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The next roulement of British forces in Afghanistan is due to take place in March/April 2008. Those forces can expect to face hot summer conditions rather than winter weather and we do not therefore expect them to require cold weather boots.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The information requested is shown in the table. Figures are shown as at 1 March 2007, as reliable Army strength statistics to this level of detail are not yet available for 1 April 2007 onwards due to ongoing validation of Army data following the introduction of the new Personnel Administration System.
|Infantry Battalion Strength of the Regular Army and Full Time Reserve Service (FTRS) by Battalion, as at 1 March 2007|
|(1) Provisional, as some records are currently being updated to reflect recent and planned divisional and regimental Infantry changes. Notes: 1. The establishment figures refer to the number of posts within a battalion that may be filled by Infantry personnel (officers and soldiers). Therefore, it excludes posts that are filled by attached personnel of other Arms and Services such as chefs, clerks, etc. Establishments will also vary depending on the particular role of a battalion; for example, Armoured Infantry battalions have larger establishments than light role Infantry battalions. 2. The Special Forces Support Group (SFSG) was established on 3 April 2006 to provide high end infantry in direct support of UKSF on operations. The Unit is located in St. Athan, near Cardiff, in Wales. It is based upon the 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment (1 PARA) and draws manpower from all three services, including a Strike Company from the Royal Marines (RM), a Strike Platoon from the Royal Air Force (RAF) Regiment and a detachment of RAF Regiment Forward Air Control and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Specialists. The above contains only the Army element of the SFSG. 3. Strength figures include members of the Regiment serving with the battalion only i.e. 2 Parachute Regiment (2 PARA) posted to 2 PARA, it does not include other Infantry serving with the 2 PARA or PARA personnel posted away from the regiment. Strength figures also exclude attached Arm/services. 4. The Guards Division strengths and establishments exclude the Public Duty Companies e.g. Nijmegan Coys. 5. Figures are for trained Infantry Officers and Soldiers and include Infantry Full Time Reserve Service (FTRS) personnel serving with the battalions. 6. Royal Gurkha Regiment figures are for the Regular Army Officers (UK Personnel) only and do not include the Gurkhas. 7. Strength and Establishment figures have been rounded to the nearest 10. Totals are rounded separately and therefore may not equal the sum of their parts.|
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many RAF (a) C-17 Globemaster, (b) C-130K Hercules, (c) C-130J Hercules, (d) Tristar and (e) VC-10 aircraft will be used in the forthcoming EU Mission to Chad and the Central African Republic; 
(3) what contact he has had with his counterparts in (a) Chad, (b) the Central African Republic and (c) Sudan on the EU mission to Chad and the Central African Republic; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence has not met any of his counterparts in Chad, the Central African Republic (CAR) or Sudan to discuss the forthcoming ESDP mission to Chad/CAR. However, the issues relating to force generation and funding for this mission were discussed at the recent EU Defence Ministers informal meeting in Portugal which he attended. He emphasised that the UK supported the mission as an important contribution to regional stability and a resolution of the Darfur crisis, but made it clear that the role of the UK armed forces would be very limited given the extent of our commitments elsewhere.
There are no plans for RAF aircraft to be used in the mission, and the British personnel to be involved will be four staff officers provided under the standing EU headquarters augmentation procedures. Under these arrangements, each EU member state undertakes to provide specified numbers of personnel to augment the nominated operational headquarters and force headquarters for an EU mission once these have been activated.
For the Chad/CAR mission, the UK will contribute a Commander (Royal Navy) and a Lieutenant Commander (Royal Navy) who have already deployed to the French operation HQ at Mont Valerien in Paris, and a Commander (Royal Navy) and a Squadron Leader (Royal Air Force) who will deploy with the French force headquarters to Chad/CAR. The parent unit for all four staff officers is the permanent joint headquarters based at Northwood.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: All discussions on force contributions for the EU military mission to Chad and the Central African Republic up to this point have been indicative. The formal force generation conferences will take place on 9 and 14 November.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The through-life cost for Package 1 of the Defence Training Review Rationalisation Programme is anticipated to be £11 billion. This figure takes account of inflation over 30 years including its effect on manpower costs, construction and maintenance charges.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Ministry of Defence employs 171 people who have declared themselves as Welsh speakers. The declaration is voluntary, so there may be members of staff who do speak Welsh but have not declared themselves as Welsh speakers.
Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) active and (b) discharged military personnel have committed suicide following return from operational deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. 
There have been 17 confirmed suicide or open verdict deaths among UK regular armed forces personnel following deployments to Operation TELIC and Operation HERRICK. Fifteen of those verdicts were Service personnel who had deployed to Operation TELIC, one had been deployed to Operation HERRICK and one had deployed to both operations.
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