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Mr. Madden: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will issue instructions for all military land byelaw notices, concerning byelaws deemed by the courts as being unsafe, to be taken down from public display; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Soames: Military land byelaw notices are no longer displayed at those sites where the courts have declared that the byelaws are defective. When new byelaws are promulgated, appropriate notices will be erected.
Mr. Madden: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on which military lands byelaws are currently regarded by him as being operational and in force; in how many such cases such byelaws are being used and observed; and how many have been deemed by the courts to be defective on their face.
Mr. Soames: Military land byelaws operate at any site to which they apply unless they have been declared defective by the courts. Byelaws for HMS Forest Moor, Menwith Hill, RAF Alconbury and Greenham Common have been so declared.
Mr. Madden: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when RAF Chicksands is due to close; and when activities conducted there will be transferred to the National Security Agency of America base at Edzell.
Mr. Soames: The US Air Force will leave RAF Chicksands by the end of September 1995. RAF Chicksands is a US Department of Defense communications centre managed by the United States Air Force. It is not our policy to comment further on operational matters.
|£ |£ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Tornado GR1 |(a) Germany |6,617 |(b) United Kingdom|6,642 Harrier GR5 |(b) Germany |3,720 |(b) United Kingdom|3,715
These figures exclude apportionment of stationed fixed costs.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Tornado aircraft have crashed or crash landed in the past three years; what where the causes of these accidents; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Soames: Since October 1991, seven RAF Tornados have crashed or crash landed. Six accidents are still under investigation by RAF boards of inquiry; summaries of the findings of the respective boards will be placed in the Library of the House as soon as they become available. The remaining accident occurred on 21 October 1993 as a result of the ignition of a fuel leak. A summary of the findings of the board of inquiry into this accident has already been placed in the Library of the House.
Column 499contracted HIV; and if he will make a statement on policy towards those with the virus.
Mr. Soames: Twenty-eight service personnel are known to have contracted HIV. Personnel who consider themselves to be at risk of HIV infection are encouraged to undergo counselling and voluntary testing. Service personnel who are infected are given counselling and receive advice and treatment appropriate to their medical condition. The services continue to employ HIV carriers until their health deteriorates to a point at which it is appropriate to terminate their employment on medical grounds.
Mr. Soames: The claiming of benefits is a private matter between the individual and the appropriate authority; if members of the armed forces were for any reason entitled to receive such a benefit, it would be claimed through the Benefits Agency or the local council, as appropriate.
Mr. Soames: The treaty on European Union provides for a common foreign and security policy that will include the eventual framing of a common European defence policy; and that this and other matters having defence implications are dealt with by the Western European Union. At its meeting in Luxembourg on 9 May this year, the WEU Council of Ministers tasked the Permanent Council to begin work on the formulation of a common European defence policy, with the aim of presenting preliminary conclusions to the Council of Ministers' next meeting in November. To that end, work is in hand in the Permanent Council on an approach to formulating such a policy.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of service personnel has been treated at the service hospitals of Haslar and Wroughton in each of the last five years; and what is the estimated travelling time to each hospital from the closest airfield likely to be used in emergencies.
Mr. Soames: The proportion of service personnel, expressed as a percentage of the total strength of the armed forces, treated at the Royal Naval hospital Haslar and the Princess Alexandra RAF hospital Wroughton
Column 500averaged 7.3 per cent. and 6.4 per cent. respectively in the five years from 1989 90 to 1993 94. The closest airfield to the Princess Alexandra RAF hospital is RAF Lyneham, which is approximately 30 minutes by road. The closest suitable airfield to the Royal Naval hospital Haslar is Eastleigh, which is about 45 minutes away by road. Both hospitals have helicopter landing sites. Depending on the circumstances, Service patients requiring emergency treatment will continue to be taken to the most convenient civilian or military hospital; one of the primary purposes for a military hospital is to train defence medical services personnel.
Mr. Freeman: Refit details for five frigates that were sold to Pakistan between 1940 and 1951 are no longer held. Additionally, the cost of refits undertaken before the dockyards passed into commercial management in April 1987 is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. Details of the refit dates of frigates sold to Pakistan since 1951 and the approximate costs, where available, are as follows.
|Date last refit Ship |completed |Total cost ---------------------------------------------------------------- HMS Diomede |August 1984 |Not available HMS Amazon |September 1984 |Not available HMS Apollo |May 1985 |Not available HMS Ambuscade |December 1985 |Not available HMS Active |August 1986 |Not available HMS Avenger |April 1988 |£17 million HMS Alacrity |November 1987 |£20 million HMS Arrow |July 1989 |£23 million
Mr. Soames: Fluorine was neither identified nor encountered as a specific hazard to service personnel of the alliance forces during the Gulf conflict. No evidence of any of the effects of fluorine has since been found in any of the medical investigations conducted on United Kingdom Gulf war veterans.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the Armilla patrol costs Britain per year before UN reimbursement; and how much the deployment of aircraft to patrol the no-fly zones in Iraq is costing per year.
Column 501costs of operating the fleet as a whole. The additional costs to the defence budget arising from the no-fly zones in the Gulf region are estimated to be:
|£ --------------------------------- 1991-92 |2,600,000 1992-93 |8,900,000 1993-94 |16,100,000 1994-95 |9,400,000
Mr. Soames: The British contingent in the United Nations assistance mission for Rwanda were deployed using a combination of British and American aircraft. The first elements travelled in Royal Air Force Hercules aircraft. The remainder deployed in US Air Force C5s and C141s operating on behalf of the United Nations.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people will attend the English language training course in the United Kingdom; and what will be the estimated cost per attendee and for the course as a whole.
Mr. Soames: We currently offer a number of English language training courses to students of various nationalities. With the exception of core courses, the number of courses and type of training offered depends on the requirements of overseas services. Course costs depend on duration, syllabus and number of students. The average cost per student per week is currently £470.
Each course is allocated a maximum student capacity between six and 16, although where specific training is requested, this may vary.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the Ministry's estimate of the Bosnian army's weaponry, and its estimates on the type and quantity of illegal arms that have reached the Bosnian army since 1992.
Mr. Soames: The Bosnian army is assessed to have about 20 tanks, 300 artillery pieces and mortars, and five helicopters. We believe that the arms embargo has prevented deliveries of heavy weaponry to the Bosnian Government, but that supplies of small arms, light anti-tank weapons and ammunition have reached them, from a number of sources.
Mr. Soames: A replacement Sea Harrier joined HMS Ark Royal within a day of the loss of the Sea Harrier over Gorazde on 16 April. There are no plans to buy a new aircraft specifically to replace the one lost, as the purchase of attrition aircraft was designed with such eventualities in mind.
Mr. Freeman: My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Defence announced to the House on 18 October 1993, Official Report, column 34, that we plan that Trident will provide the United Kingdom's sub- strategic nuclear capability in the longer term.
Mr. Freeman: Good progress has been made in the negotiations towards a comprehensive test ban treaty, which have been the main focus of the work in the conference on disarmament this year. A rolling text has been produced which covers all the main issues in treaty form, and is based on the work of the two working groups on verification and legal and institutional issues. The United Kingdom has been playing an active and constructive part in the negotiations and the contribution of the United Kingdom friend of the chair verification has been particularly recognised and appreciated.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on how the United Kingdom has encouraged equipment co -operation between east European countries and the United Kingdom.
Mr. Freeman: The Ministry of Defence has been involved in a number of initiatives designed to provide central and eastern European countries with an understanding of United Kingdom defence procurement policy and practices. These initiatives have comprised the exchange of expert working groups from the defence procurement agencies of the United Kingdom and central and eastern European countries and the United Kingdom's involvement in visits to those countries of teams of experts from NATO.
We have also provided United Kingdom defence industry with information on our approach to equipment procurement from central and eastern Europe to help them make commercial judgments on the possibility of joint ventures with central and eastern European industry.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the form of assistance that Britain is providing to Ukraine in its dismantling of nuclear weapons; which British engineers are helping; what progress has been made in the dismantling; and for how long this commitment lasts.
Mr. Soames: The United Kingdom does not currently provide Ukraine with specific assistance for the dismantling of the nuclear weapons remaining in her territory. Assistance with the safe disposal of hazardous rocket fuels was offered, but declined. However, a number of more general assistance programmes, including ones run under the auspices of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, should help with the drawdown of the former strategic rocket forces in Ukraine, particularly the resettlement and retraining of personnel.
Mr. Freeman: My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Defence has written to colleagues in central Europe, inviting attendance at a seminar on the roles and responsibilities of civilians in the defence field, to be held in the United Kingdom in November. We shall determine our future programme of assistance, including training, in the light of requirements identified at the seminar.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with what countries Britain has begun military co-operation under the partnership for peace; with which countries exercises have been held in 1994; what was the experience gained from these exercises; and what co-operation has already been agreed for the rest of this year and 1995.
Mr. Soames: The United Kingdom has undertaken bilateral military co- operation with the majority of signatories to partnership for peace. This bilateral activity is being subsumed into PFP as the partnership work programme is developed.
During 1994, United Kingdom land forces have conducted bilateral peacekeeping exercises with Poland and Hungary, and United Kingdom naval forces participated in a Norwegian--led exercise in the Barents sea. In addition, the United Kingdom has participated in three PFP exercises: Co- operative Bridge in Poland, involving 13 nations; Co-operative Spirit in Holland involving 12 nations; and Co-operative Venture in the Norwegian sea, involving 14 nations.
We are continuing to evaluate the military lessons of these exercises but they will provide useful lessons on the planning and conduct of future exercises in the evolving PFP programme. The 1995 programmes of PFP and bilateral work have yet to be finalised.
Year |£ ------------------------ 1989-90 |26,908 1990-91 |24,185 1991-92 |80,460 1992-93 |257,352 1993-94 |866,836
Year |Number ---------------------- 1989-90 |- 1990-91 |- 1991-92 |- 1992-93 |12 1993-94 |34
(2) if he will make a statement on the state of the Hercules aircraft being offered for sale.
Mr. Freeman: No RAF Hercules aircraft has been offered for sale. An advertisement was placed by my Department in September to assess the potential market for RAF Hercules, should they become available for sale.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many applicants for officer training have been referred to (a) Rowallan Company and (b) another extra training scheme, in each of the past 10 years; and what proportion in each year has been accepted at Sandhurst after this extra training.
Column 505rotary wing helicopter training centres; and how many personnel are employed at each centre.
Column 506separate contracts to RPS Coulston for its study proposals on the Otterburn training area.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many applications for officer training there have been in each of the last 10 years; and how many were rejected by the Royal Commissions Board in each of the last 10 years.
Year Royal Navy Army Royal Air Force |Applied |Rejected|Applied |Rejected|Applied |Rejected ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1985-86 |- |- |3,473 |3,569 |4,723 |3,843 1986-87 |- |- |3,311 |2,396 |4,743 |3,755 1987-88 |- |- |2,894 |2,080 |4,327 |3,386 1988-89 |2,464 |1,613 |2,577 |1,698 |3,976 |3,211 1989-90 |2,347 |1,414 |2,629 |1,806 |4,322 |3,511 1990-91 |2,714 |1,894 |2,529 |1,656 |4,316 |3,591 1991-92 |2,283 |1,293 |2,374 |1,675 |3,737 |3,252 1992-93 |2,020 |1,290 |2,012 |1,430 |1,644 |1,390 1993-94 |1,536 |918 |1,607 |1,001 |1,314 |1,232 1994-95 |1,238 |956 |925 |575 |1,253 |1,055 (to 30 September 1994) Notes: 1. Officer applicants to the Royal Navy are interviewed by the Admiralty Interview Board, to the Army by the Regular Commissions Board, and to the Royal Air Force by the Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre. 2. Number for the Royal Navy for Financial Year 1985-86 to 1987-88 are not readily available and could not be provided without disproportionate cost. 3. Royal Naval and Royal Air Force figures include those for serving personnel seeking commissions. 4. Army figures do not include those for doctors, dentists, nurses, veterinary surgeons and lawyers as their applications are dealt with by the appropriate Corps/Service.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made on the proposal to buy cruise missiles from the USA; what the estimated costs will be; and when they could become operational.
Mr. Freeman: Initial feasibility studies into the UK's acquisition of Tomahawk land attack missiles have just begun. The results of these studies will be available next year and will provide us with the means of assessing the contribution that TLAM could make to the UK's defence capability and what the cost and operational implications would be.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if liability over the damage done to the Tornado F-3s at RAF St. Athans by Airwork has been decided; how much the repairs will cost; and when the last Tornado will again be in service.
Mr. Freeman: My Department intends to claim against the Bricom Group, the former owners of Airwork Ltd, for the cost of repairing the damage done to the Tornado F3 aircraft and for other consequential costs. In view of the pending claim, it would be inappropriate to comment on the cost of repair. A schedule for recovering the aircraft has been identified which will ensure that the RAF's operational capability is not affected.