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Mr. Archie Hamilton : At its summit in May, NATO reaffirmed its position that for the foreseeable future there is no alternative to the Alliance's strategy of deterrence based on an appropriate mix of adequate and effective nuclear and conventional forces which will continue to be kept up to date where necessary.

Gurkhas

16. Mr. Atkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has any plans to deploy a Gurkha regiment in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : There are no current plans to deploy Gurkha infantry regiments to Northern Ireland.

Eastern Europe

17. Mr. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any reassessment has been made of the need to develop a new strategy to replace flexible response in the light of the recent political changes in eastern Europe.

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any reassessment has been made of the


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need to develop a new strategy to replace flexible response, in the light of the recent political changes in eastern Europe.

108. Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any reassessment has been made of the need to develop a new strategy to replace flexible response, in the light of the recent political changes in eastern Europe.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : We continue to believe that NATO's strategy on flexible response and forward defence provides the best means of maintaining deterrence and thereby preserving peace in Europe.

28. Mr. Terry Fields : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his assessment of the implications of recent developments in eastern Europe on United Kingdom arms expenditure.

99. Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in the light of the changes in the politics of eastern Europe in the current year, whether he intends to reduce levels of defence expenditure.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : Welcome though the positive developments in eastern Europe are, proper funding for defence must be maintained. It would be quite wrong to pre-empt the outcome of the current arms control talks by decreasing our defence expenditure when there is still such a large imbalance of forces in Europe.

59. Mr. Grocott : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he is undertaking any reviews of Britain's defence strategy in the light of the breaching of the Berlin Wall.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : We remain committed to NATO, whose policies of seeking dialogue with the East while maintaining adequate defensive strength have contributed to the political changes taking place in the GDR and elsewhere in eastern Europe.

104. Mr. Gill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his assessment of the military threat from the Warsaw pact countries in the light of recent developments in central Europe.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell) on 15 November 1989 at column 269 .

116. Mr. Jessel : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the number of submarines, tanks, military aircraft and army divisions at the disposal of the Warsaw pact countries taken together ; and what are the corresponding figures for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : I refer my hon. Friend to figures 8 and 10 of chapter 6 of volume I of the "Statement on the Defence Estimates 1989" (Cm 675), and to the NATO publication "Conventional Forces in Europe : The Facts", published in November 1988, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.

Tanker Aircraft

18. Mr. Haynes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the replacement programme of tanker aircraft for mid-air refuelling.


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24. Mr. McKelvey : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the replacement programme of tanker aircraft for mid-air refuelling.

106. Mr. Lofthouse : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the replacement programme of tanker aircraft for mid-air refuelling.

Mr. Alan Clark : As the Victor aircraft reach the end of their useful life, current plans are to convert a number of in-service VC10 and Tristar aircraft to provide air-to-air refuelling for the RAF.

Frigates

19. Mr. Allen Adams : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will be announcing orders for the next batch of type 23 frigates.

81. Mr. Bradley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will be announcing orders for the next batch of type 23 frigates.

Mr. Neubert : I hope to announce the outcome of the competition by the end of this year.

Lance Missiles

20. Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans there are to reduce the number of Lance missiles in Europe.

60. Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans there are to reduce the number of Lance missiles in Europe.

88. Mr. Frank Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans there are to reduce the number of Lance missiles in Europe.

122. Mr. McAllion : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans there are to reduce the number of Lance missiles in Europe.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : There are no such plans.

Free-fall Nuclear Bomb

21. Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what expenditure has been incurred to date on the study of possible replacement options for the replacement of the WE177 free-fall nuclear bomb.

75. Mr. Patchett : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what expenditure has been incurred to date on the study of possible replacement options for the replacement of the WE177 free-fall nuclear bomb.

Mr. Alan Clark : I refer the hon. Members to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Davies).

92. Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about progress on the replacement of the WE177 free-fall nuclear bomb.

Mr. Alan Clark : I have nothing to add to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Wyre (Mr. Mans) on 24 October 1989 at column 429 by my hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces.


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Soviet Union

22. Mr. Ian Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has any evidence that the Soviet Union has altered its military doctrine ; and what changes there have been.

62. Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has any evidence that the Soviet Union has altered its military doctrine ; and what changes there have been.

128. Mr. Summerson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has any evidence that the Soviet Union has altered its military doctrine to one that is solely defensive.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : The Soviet Union formally redefined the political aspect of its public military doctrine in 1987, to emphasise both the priority aim of the avoidance of war, and its defensive nature. The cuts in Soviet forces announced by President Gorbachev at the United Nations in December 1988 and the accompanying restructuring of its remaining forces along strictly defensive lines, are quoted as evidence of the practical implementation of this doctrine. These measures are very welcome, but even when they are fully implemented, the Warsaw pact will still possess a significant military superiority over NATO in Europe.

RTM322 Helicopter Engine

23. Mr. Page : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made in selecting the RTM322 helicopter engine.

Mr. Alan Clark : A competition for the supply of more powerful engines for the EH101 helicopter was run by the Ministry of Defence last year. It was won by the Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322 engine, which beat the rival General Electric CT7 series engine on both cost and technical grounds.

Exceptionally, the competition was run in advance of an established requirement for a more powerful engine in the EH101, in recognition of Rolls-Royce Turbomeca's desire for an early decision. Work to define the production standard of the aircraft (including its power requirement) is well in hand and will be completed shortly. A decision in respect of the engine contract will be made as soon as possible thereafter.

Pegasus 11-61 Engine

25. Mr. Stern : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has yet identified a United Kingdom requirement for the Pegasus 11-61 aero engine.

Mr. Alan Clark : There is currently no United Kingdom requirement for a more powerful engine for the RAF's Harrier.

Defence Budget

26. Ms. Abbott : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the increased military threat to the United Kingdom ; and what are the reasons for the increase in the defence budget as announced in the Autumn Statement.


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45. Mr. Martlew : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the increased threat to the United Kingdom to justify the increase in the defence budget as announced in the Autumn Statement.

129. Mr. McCartney : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the increased military threat to the United Kingdom ; and what are the reasons for the increase in the defence budget as announced in the Autumn Statement.

Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the increased military threat to the United Kingdom ; and what are the reasons for the increase in the defence budget, as announced in the Autumn Statement.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : The plans for the defence budget reflect the Government's resolve to maintain the necessary funding for a strong defence. Whilst we welcome the positive developments in Warsaw pact countries, we shall not undermine the prospects for sound arms control agreements by implementing force reductions in advance.

Conventional Forces

27. Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the need for new strategies and doctrines for conventional forces over the next 10 years.

65. Mr. David Young : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made of the need for new strategies and doctrines for conventional forces over the next 10 years.

115. Mr. Fatchett : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made of the need for new strategies and doctrines for conventional forces over the next 10 years.

123. Mr. Wall : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made of the need for new strategies and doctrines for conventional forces over the next 10 years.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : NATO's fundamental strategies of flexible response and forward defence, together with its commitment to seek dialogue with the Warsaw pact, have successfully contributed to progress on arms control, and remain valid. Alliance plans will continue to take account of current military realities.

49. Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made of the environmental impact of negotiated cuts in British conventional forces over the next 10 years.

66. Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made of the environmental impact of negotiated cuts in British conventional forces over the next 10 years.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : It is not possible at this stage to assess the impact on the environment of the negotiations on conventional forces in Vienna, which cover the forces of all NATO and Warsaw pact countries, not just those in the United Kingdom. Regardless of force levels, however, the essential training of British troops is always conducted with a view to causing minimum disruption to the environment and local population.


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Helicopters

29. Mr. Duffy : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he is satisfied with the performance of helicopters assigned to the 24 Airmobile Brigade ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : Yes.

US Defence Secretary

30. Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he next intends to meet his American counterpart to discuss United States defence levels in western Europe.

41. Mr. Bill Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with his United States counterpart about the possibility of nuclear-tipped tactical short-range attack missiles being deployed on aircraft based in the United Kingdom.

70. Mr. Wray : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with his United States counterpart about the possibility of nuclear-tipped tactical short-range attack missiles being deployed on aircraft based in the United Kingdom.

117. Ms. Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with his United States counterpart about the possibility of nuclear-tipped tactical short range attack missiles being deployed on aircraft based in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is today attending the meeting of NATO's defence planning committee in Brussels, where he will meet Mr. Cheney. They will discuss a range of matters of mutual interest.

56. Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he next plans to meet the United States Secretary of State for Defence ; and what issues he plans to raise.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : My right hon. Friend will discuss a wide range of matters of mutual interest with Mr. Cheney at today's meeting of the defence planning committee in Brussels.

82. Mr. Hind : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he plans to meet the United States Secretary of State for Defence to discuss reductions in United States forces in Europe ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Faversham (Mr. Moate).

Troops (Medical Training)

31. Dr. Moonie : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence to what level of medical proficiency have troops involved in civilian ambulance and emergency work been trained.

34. Mr. Skinner : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence to what level of medical proficiency have troops involved in civilian ambulance and emergency work been trained.


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80. Mr. Norman Hogg : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence to what level of medical proficiency have troops involved in civilian ambulance and emergency work been trained.

96. Mr. Nellist : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence to what level of medical proficiency troops involved in civilian ambulance and emergency work have been trained.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : Medical orderlies currently deployed with military ambulances undertaking civilian accident and emergency work have all received special training in basic nursing and medical skills in order to deal at an appropriate level with all likely first aid and emergency incidents.

Our service personnel should be congratulated on the professional and dedicated way in which they have undertaken this essential work under difficult circumstances.

Ferranti

35. Mr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has met the chairman of Ferranti to discuss the company's future as an indigenous defence contractor ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Alan Clark : My right hon. Friend and I, and Ministry of Defence officials, maintain contact with the senior management of all major defence contractors, including Ferranti. The details of our discussions are always confidential.

Efficiency Savings

36. Mr. Andrew Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what efficiency savings his Department has achieved in the past six months.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : Detailed efficiency achievements in the last six months have not yet been assessed centrally. However, in the first year of the three-year efficiency programme, which covers almost two thirds of the defence budget and to which I referred in the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mr. French) on 3 February 1989 at column 443, the Department exceeded its target of 2.5 per cent.

NATO

38. Mr. Viggers : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he next expects to meet the secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to discuss maritime security in the eastern Atlantic.

40. Mr. Bell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with the secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation concerning the modernisation of short-range nuclear weapons ; and if he will make a statement.

83. Mr. Livsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he last met the secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ; and what subjects were discussed.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is today attending the meeting of


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NATO's defence planning committee in Brussels, where he will meet the secretary general. They will discuss a range of matters of mutual interest.

Mr. John Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when he next expects to meet his North Atlantic Treaty Organisation colleagues to discuss defence expenditure.

Mr. Yeo : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he last met his North Atlantic Treaty Organisation counterparts ; and what subjects were discussed.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is today attending the meeting of NATO's defence planning committee in Brussels, where he will meet his ministerial colleagues. They will discuss a range of matters of mutual interest.

Trident

39. Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the latest cost of the Trident nuclear weapons system.

Mr. Alan Clark : The current estimate for Trident is £9,089 million at 1988-89 prices and an exchange rate of £1=$1.76. It is intended to announce a revised estimate early next year.

61. Mr. Douglas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the progress of discussions between Her Majesty's Government and the United States Administration in relation to the anticipated delivery dates for the D5 Trident missiles.

Mr. Alan Clark : There has been no change to the planned dates for delivery of Trident missiles to the United Kingdom.

102. Mr. Barry Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the progress of the Trident programme.

121. Mr. Franks : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the progress of the Trident programme.

Mr. Alan Clark : The Trident programme continues to progress to time and budget towards its in-service date of the mid-1990s.

131. Mr. Salmond : To ask the Secretary of Defence if it is his intention to review the commitment to Trident, in the light of recent developments in Warsaw pact countries.

132. Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of Defence if it is his intention to review the commitment to Trident, in the light of recent developments in the Warsaw pact countries.

133. Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of Defence if it is his intention to review the commitment to Trident, in the light of recent developments in the Warsaw pact countries.

134. Mr. Andrew Welsh : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if it is his intention to review the commitment to Trident, in the light of recent developments in the Warsaw pact countries.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : No.


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