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Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 26 November 2001, Official Report, column 662W, how many C130Ks he plans to decommission in each year over the next 10 years; and when he plans to have completed its phasing out. 
Mr. Ingram: Current plans for the last element of the rolling programme to replace part of the Hercules C130K fleet with C130Js are for two of the C130K aircraft based at RAF Lyneham to be retired by 30 April 2002 and one aircraft to be retired towards the end of 2002. There are currently no detailed plans for the decommissioning of the remaining 26 C130K Hercules, which is predicted to occur by around the end of this decade.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what percentage of applicants to the (a) Army, (b) RAF, (c) Royal Navy and (d) Royal Marines were turned down on medical grounds in each quarter of the last seven years, broken down by gender. 
Mr. Ingram: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 19 December 2001, Official Report, column 339W. The information that is available is shown in the table, which includes some corrected and updated figures for Royal Marine Other Ranks. A breakdown by gender is only available for the Army. The principal reason for the significant variation in failure rates between the RAF other ranks and those of the other services is that the medical examination is undertaken at a much later stage in the selection process, by which time many of the applicants have already withdrawn for other reasons.
24 Jan 2002 : Column 990W
|Service||Number||Percentage of applicants|
|Royal Navy Officers|
|Royal Navy Ratings|
|Royal Marines Officers|
|Royal Marines Other Ranks(2)|
|199596||30||2.0 (80%m, 20%f)|
|199697||38||2.4 (79%m, 21%f)|
|199798||41||2.6 (78%m, 22%f)|
|199899||42||3.7 (81%m, 19%f)|
|19992000||60||4.9 (80%m, 20%f)|
|200001||33||2.9 (76%m, 24%f)|
|200102(1)||43||7.2 (77%m, 23%f)|
|Army Other Ranks|
|199798||1,880||10.3 (81%m, 19%f)|
|199899||2.304||11.1 (81%m, 19%f)|
|19992000||1,660||8.0 (84%m, 16%f)|
|200001||1,132||5.5 (87%m, 13%f)|
|Royal Air Force Officers|
|Royal Air Force Airmen/Airwomen|
(1) The figures for 200102 are as at 7 December 2001
(2) Women are currently only permitted to join the Royal Marine Band Service
(3) Army Other Rank figures unavailable for 200102
24 Jan 2002 : Column 991W
(a) Department, (b) agencies and (c) non-departmental public bodies on newspaper advertising by title in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Ingram: We said in the Strategic Defence Review of 1998 that we need to ensure that Trident can remain an effective deterrent for up to 30 years. As with other key military capabilities, we routinely undertake studies into options for achieving the optimum operational life and value for money.
Mr. Ingram: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence gave to the hon. Member for North Essex (Mr. Jenkin) on 16 January 2002, Office Report, column 316. A copy of this letter was sent on 19 January 2002, and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House. British troops are deployed on active service in 18 countries and overseas territories in the Balkans, the middle east, Cyprus, the Falkland Islands, Georgia, the United States of America, Africa and Asia, as well as at sea.
|Vessels brought into service since 1997||Estimated remaining service life (years)|
(4) Information withheld under Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, relating to defence, security and international relations.
24 Jan 2002 : Column 992W
|Vessels decommissioned since 1997||Age of vessel when decommissioned (years)|
Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence is seeking to modernise arrangements for warship support and achieve savings to the defence budget. We have received proposals from the dockyard companies for potential partnering arrangements at the naval bases at Portsmouth, Devonport and the Clyde. We have also received alternative proposals from our trade unions for the pursuit of efficiencies at the naval bases. All options are currently being compared for value for money, together with their technical, commercial and human resource implications, for a decision in the near future.
24 Jan 2002 : Column 993W
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