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Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what volumes and what types of chemical warfare agents are maintained at the Porton Down chemical warfare research establishment as part of his Department's defensive prophylactic research programme ; when the entire stocks of these chemical warfare agents will be destroyed ; and under what conditions.
Mr. Neubert : As has frequently been stated in previous answers, the MOD does not possess a chemical warfare research establishment. The role of the Chemical Defence Establishment, Porton Down, is to provide effective protective measures for the United Kingdom Armed Forces against the threat that chemical or biological weapons may be used against them. The United Kingdom abandoned all offensive chemical warfare work over 30 years ago.
As stated in my predecessor's reply to the hon. Member on 25 January at column 653, the MOD holds small experimental quantities of agent, for research into protective measures against chemical and biological attack.
These small quantities will be maintained for as long as necessary. As stated in my predecessor's reply to the hon. Member on 23 March at column 754, the MOD does not disclose details of the location of these small quantities for security reasons.
Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if flights by non-Royal Air Force military aircraft over the United Kingdom require prior authorisation ; and if all such flights are recorded.
Mr. Neubert : It is standing operational practice for each flight undertaken by a military aircraft operating within the airspace of the United Kingdom to be authorised by a competent authority. No central record of such flights is maintained.
Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions, to the latest available date in 1989, and in each of the last three years, unauthorised flights by military aircraft have taken place over the United Kingdom ; and if he will make a statement.
(2) if there has been any alteration in the level of funds available for future orders for the type 23 frigate.
Mr. Neubert : It is not our practice to comment on long-term planning assumptions. Decisions on orders will be announced as appropriate. The Government remain committed to maintaining a force of about 50 destroyers and frigates and will order sufficient new ships to achieve this target.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what ability those type 23 frigates not fitted with an automated command and control system will possess to identify aircraft as either friendly or hostile.
Mr. Neubert : The classification of an aircraft as friendly or hostile is based on information from a variety of sources including the ships identification friend or foe (IFF) system and other sensors. In T23 frigates not fitted with a command system this information will be available but will not be correlated automatically.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what has been the average annual number of frigates that have been ordered between 1982 and 1988, excluding those vessels ordered to replace Falkland losses.
(2) what regard he has had to the industrial investment implications of future orders for the type 23 frigate.
Column 334to secure best value for money for the defence budget. Tender prices and compliance with contract conditions will be the major considerations in the current competition for type 23 frigates. However, as the MOD confirmed in its response to the 31 report from the Committee of Public Accounts (Session 1987-88), its strategy is to maintain sufficient warshipbuilding capacity to meet likely future defence requirements and a competitive base and these twin objectives are always taken into account in the placing of individual ship and submarine orders.
(2) what assessment has been made of the need to replace the type 42 destoyer.
Mr. Neubert : The Royal Navy has a continuing requirement for a replacement for the type 42 destroyer to come into service at the turn of the century. Following the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the NFR90 programme, we are now addressing how best to proceed with this requirement, including the possibility of alternative collaborative arrangements for elements of the programme.
(2) whether any Cambodian nationals have received military training or instruction from serving members of the British armed forces at any time in the last 10 years ;
(3) whether any military assistance has been provided by the Government for Cambodian guerrillas at any time in the last 10 years ;
(4) whether any service personnel, apart from those attached to the British embassy, have worked in Thailand at any time in the last 10 years.