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Mr. Sainsbury : Yes. The extensive trialing of prototype equipment during development, which is continuing with in-service production vehicles, demonstrates that Warrior is fully meeting its performance, reliability and maintainability requirements.
Column 663Mr. Archie Hamilton : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence met Mr. Tower at the recent Wehrkunde conference in Munich.
47. Mr. Graham : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if, in the light of the report of the Public Accounts Committee on the disposal of Royal Ordnance factories, he will make it his policy to apply for outline planning permission prior to similar sales in the future.
68. Miss Lestor : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if, in the light of the report of the Public Accounts Committee on the disposal of Royal Ordnance factories, he will make it his policy to apply for outline planning permission prior to similar sales in the future.
49. Mr. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a further statement about NATO's current nuclear strategy in the light of the last NATO nuclear planning group meeting at Scheveningen.
52. Mr. Loyden : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a further statement about NATO's current nuclear strategy in the light of the last NATO nuclear planning group meeting at Scheveningen.
110. Mr. Flannery : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a further statement about North Atlantic Treaty Organisation current nuclear strategy in the light of the last North Atantic Treaty Organisation nuclear planning group meeting at Scheveningen.
128. Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a further statement about the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's current nuclear strategy in the light of the last NATO nuclear planning group meeting at Scheveningen.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : I have nothing to add to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 29 November 1988 at column 573 to the hon. Member for Deptford (Ms. Ruddock).
51. Dr. Twinn : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions Warsaw pact on-site inspections have taken place in the United Kingdom under the terms of the conference on security and co- operation in Europe.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : There has been one such occasion : the Soviet Union conducted an inspection in the south of England under the terms of the document of the 1986 Stockholm conference from 5-7 October 1988.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : RAF Greenham common has been designated as a NATO standby operating base for many years and we envisage that this role will continue after the cruise missiles are withdrawn in about two years time. No decisions have yet been taken on any additional roles for the base thereafter.
|Number ----------------------------- 1 January 1989 |16,007 1 January 1979 |20,488
Comparable figures for the total number of service personnel serving in the security forces in the Province were 17,287 and 21,465 respectively.
Mr. Neubert : We are pursuing a number of initiatives to achieve savings in defence spares and maintenance costs, through improvements in spares purchasing and repair and overhaul contracts, better resource management supported by investment in information technology, and improved reliability and maintainability of equipment.
Mr. Neubert : In addition to any stocks which may be held to meet specific war reserve or contingency requirements the Ministry of Defence holds working stocks, the levels of which vary according to factors such as shelf life, the rate of consumption, economic order quantity and lead times for replacement. Typically stock levels range from two months for items readily available from commercial sources to eight years for those which are not for example, for support of refurbishment programmes for major specialised equipments.
Mr. Sainsbury : Since 1979, the Government have ordered a total of 64 vessels at a cost in excess of £6 billion. The acceptance of HMS Trenchant, a Trafalgar class submarine, will bring the number of these vessels subsequently accepted into service to 40. The vessels currently under construction comprise two Trident submarines, two further Trafalgar class submarines and four conventional Upholder class submarines, as well as two type 22 and seven type 23 frigates, five of a new class of single role minehunters and two of a new class of auxiliary oiler replenishment vessels. The Government expect to invite tenders for a further batch of type 23 frigates and to order a third Trident submarine later this year. In addition, although orders are not envisaged for this year, tenders have already been invited for an aviation support ship, and we are in the process of evaluating the results of feasibility studies into the replacement of the capability currently provided by the assault ships Fearless and Intrepid.
76. Mr. Mans : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement concerning the recruitment and training of women pilots following the comments made by the new Chief of the Air Staff.
Mr. Neubert : Whilst there are no current plans to change our policy preventing women from undertaking directly combatant duties, the Royal Air Force is currently studying the possibility of employing women in some pilot roles.
77. Mr. John Hunt : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has any plans to visit the Royal Air Force officer and aircrew selection centre at Biggin Hill before the proposed transfer of the centre to RAF Cranwell.
82. Mr. McFall : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is Her Majesty's Government's policy on procurement from (a) the United Kingdom, (b) European and (c) United States-owned defence industries.
118. Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is Her Majesty's Government's policy on procurement from (a) the United Kingdom, (b) European and (c) United States-owned defence industries.
132. Mr. Turner : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is Her Majesty's Government's policy on procurement from (a) the United Kingdom, (b) European and (c) United States-owned defence industries.
95. Mr. Nelson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures he will take as chairman of the Independent European Programme Group to promote the objective of European collaboration in the supply of defence equipment as set out in the Luxembourg communique of 9 November 1988.
116. Mr. Dykes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his Department's efforts to date to secure Europe wide procurement harmonisation and reciprocity ; if he will discuss these matters with his NATO counterparts ; and when he next expects to discuss these matters with the secretary-general of NATO.
Mr. Sainsbury : The Luxembourg communique contained a wide range of measures designed to increase the effectiveness of European armaments co- operation, most particularly by creating a European market for defence equipment. Our aim during the chairmanship is to make concrete progress towards this by focusing on a number of specific objectives, with milestones for achievement. We shall be seeking our IEPG partners' agreement to these objectives which will include proposals for the opening up of the market to the benefit of all IEPG countries (through, for instance, the publication of bidding opportunities) ; measures to enhance research co-operation through a European technology programme ; and intensified efforts to harmonise requirements and identify viable projects for co-operation. We believe that progress in these areas will strengthen the European contribution to NATO, and therefore benefit the Alliance as a whole.
83. Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the latest position regarding the review of dog training at the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, Melton Mowbray ; and whether he will make a statement.
Mr. Neubert : The Peat Marwick McLintock report on training arrangements has been received by the Ministry and its contents are being considered. In arriving at a decision, account will be taken on the points previously made by my hon. Friend.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans exist to distribute iodine tablets to residents of a town near a nuclear submarine base in the event of a major containment failure of a pressurised water reactor on a nuclear submarine.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Arrangements are in place at ports where nuclear submarines are permitted to berth to ensure the prompt distribution of stable iodine to those at risk in the very unlikely event of a containment failure leading to the release of radioactive iodine. Formal contact is maintained with the relevant public authorities who, together with their naval counterparts, review these arrangements on a regular basis and thereby keep them fully up-to-date.
Mr. Neubert : Drug abuse is not a major problem in the armed forces. Nevertheless the services pursue a vigorous programme of education and prevention. Several new drug abuse prevention films have been made recently and the three services' specialist drug detection teams were strengthened following a rise in convictions in the early 1980s. A drop in convictions each year since 1984 gives reasonable grounds to believe that these measures are proving successful. The services are aware of the need for constant vigilance.
Mr. Sainsbury : There have been a number of recent achievements to add to our successful history of equipment collaboration with our European partners. For example, in the last six months memoranda of understanding (MoUs) have been signed for the development phase of the European fighter aircraft (EFA) and the third generation of anti-tank weapon (TRIGAT).
A further valuable recent achievement has been the Anglo-French reciprocal purchasing initiative, launched in
Column 6691987 with the aim of encouraging cross- channel competitive bidding so as to create a more open market in defence equipment between Britain and France. These various measures, and plans to implement greater coherence and co-ordination of research spending, should result in greater value for money in procurement and a stronger European contribution to NATO defence. As holders of the IEPG chair for the next two years, the United Kingdom will be concerned to press ahead with the action plan already agreed in pursuit of these objectives.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The United Kingdom has held the Presidency of the WEU Council of Ministers since 1 July 1988. Four main priorities were established for our Presidency : these were set out in my reply to my hon. Friends the Members for Stroud (Mr. Knapman) and for Harrow, West (Mr. Hughes) on 29 November 1988 at column 227.
Mr. Sainsbury : The Department has achieved significant cost savings on equipment for each of the three services through the adoption of a commercial approach to defence procurement, which includes, of course, a greater emphasis on competition. Eleven examples, where savings totalling some £105 million had been made, were included in the 1988 statement on the Defence Estimates. Four of the examples were of RAF equipment. However, it is not possible to calculate the cumulative total savings, nor the savings achieved for an individual service, since the adoption of the commercial approach in the early 1980s.
107. Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representatons he has received concerning compensaton payments to the widows of Royal Air Force personnel killed in the Chinook helicopter accident in the Falkland Islands on 27 February 1987 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Neubert : A number of representations have been received from hon. Members and from others. Formal claims on behalf of the dependants of five of the Royal Air Force personnel who lost their lives on 27 February 1987 were commenced by solicitors in August 1987. Since then, correspondence has continued between the solicitors and the Department, whose claims branch is awaiting the completion of all necessary inquiries into the incident, including the results of an inquest by Her Majesty's coroner. Once these inquiries have been completed, it is hoped to be able to come to a decision very quickly on any ex-gratia compensation which might be payable.
108. Mr. Robert Hicks : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the current position regarding his proposals to locate a nuclear waste storage facility in the Plymouth area ; and if he will make a statement.