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Mr. Soames: Use of the United Kingdom low flying system was authorised by my officials, and the specific sortie concerned was properly booked with the tactical booking cell at RAF West Drayton. There was no requirement for individual flight plans to be authorised by an RAF officer.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the date, number, type and nationality of aircraft involved, and source of the reported breach, for each confirmed breach of the Eshott microlight avoidance area in 1991 and 1992.
|Number and type Date |of aircraft |Nationality ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1991 25 September |4 F16s |Royal Netherlands | Air Force 26 November |2 Hawks |RAF 1992 6 May |1 Buccaneer |RAF 9 September |5 Jaguars |French Air Force 12 November |1 F15E |USAF 8 December |1 Tornado |RAF
All were reported by staff working at the site.
My answer of 1 December 1994, Official Report , column 907 , stated that eight breaches occurred in 1992. Further investigation has, however, revealed that this figure included a number of cases where a breach was suspected but could not be confirmed by RAF investigations. The correct total for 1992 is four.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many low- level passes were conducted over Her Majesty's prison Stocken by an RAF Tornado on 27 September; what was the minimum authorised altitude for the passes; what use was made of reheat; what attack profiles were used; what consideration was given to the environmental effects of the activity on the surrounding population; and what was the sum recovered from the Prison Service in payment for the service.
Mr. Soames: Although the precise number was not recorded, between six and eight low-level passes were made over Her Majesty's prison Stocken on 27 September 1994 at the request of Her Majesty's Prison Service. The aircraft flew at a height of 1,000 ft in a figure of eight pattern centred on the prison. The pattern was rotated to avoid the undue concentration of environmental effects. On approaching the prison complex the aircraft descended to 250 ft and only used reheat when within the prison boundary for a period of five seconds on each pass. This task was conducted at the end of a normal training flight and no payments have been sought from the Prison Service.
Mr. Soames: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Low flying by Royal Air Force aircraft in Italy is in general permitted down to 500 ft, although in certain specified areas flying down to 250 ft may be authorised.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the basis of the determination, contained in his Department's evidence to the Defence Select Committee, HC 314 of Session 1993 94, page 37, that the breach of the Dounreay nuclear power station avoidance area by two Portuguese aircraft on 21 September 1993, was inadvertent; and if a copy of the RAF police report on the incident was passed to the commanding officer of the aircrew concerned.
Column 106followed, would have taken them no closer than 10 nautical miles to the Dounreay power station. During the sortie the aircraft became lost; to regain its bearings, it flew north to the coast and then east back on to its planned route. In doing so, it inadvertently infringed the Dounreay avoidance area.
A copy of the RAF police report was not sent to the commanding officer of the aircrew concerned as the matter had already been discussed with the senior officer of the Portuguese detachment concerned in a debrief at RAF Lossiemouth immediately after the sortie had been flown.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria are taken into consideration when reviewing the suitability of a particular feature for inclusion on the list of approved mock targets for toss or dive attack.
Mr. Soames: Features are carefully selected taking into account the location of nearby habitation, environmental and flight safety factors and their similarity to targets which might be encountered during operational sorties. Targets are surveyed by the RAF police before inclusion on the list.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what was the total number of simulated attack passes carried out during the recent incident involving Royal Air Force Tornados at Gollinglithfoot, Yorkshire; how many attack runs were made by each aircraft; what was the precise time of the incident; what type of exercise the planes were engaged in; and who authorised the exercise;
(2) how many of the simulated attack runs carried out by Tornados from RAF Bruggen on a telephone kiosk in Gollinglithfoot were (a) toss attacks, (b) dive attacks and (c) level pass attacks.
Mr. Soames: Five Tornado aircraft each flew a single reconnaissance profile, similar to a level pass attack, between 1020 and 1038 hours on 28 June; a further five Tornados each flew a single reconnaissance profile between 1520 and 1535 that day. No toss or dive attacks were made. This activity was part of an exercise intended to evaluate the performance of squadron aircrew which was authorised by the Officer Commanding No. 31 Squadron RAF Bruggen.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the particular aspects of toss and dive attacks which limit them to specifically authorised features; and to what extent similar considerations are applied to level pass attacks.
Mr. Soames: To enhance deconfliction during toss and dive attacks, targets are allocated from an approved list to a single aircraft at a time. A level pass attack does not differ significantly from normal low-level flight, and no additional deconfliction arrangements are necessary.
Column 107villages and (b) buildings likely to be inhabited, as mock targets, were in force at the time of the incident at Gollinglithfoot, Yorkshire; and what changes have been made to these instructions since the incident.
Mr. Soames: Aircrews are instructed that when choosing any type of simulated target, they and authorising officers are to satisfy themselves that the briefed flight profile can be completed safely without infringing low flying regulations or airspace restrictions. Targets are to be selected with consideration for nearby habitation. Repetitive overflight of targets is prohibited unless essential to achieve training objectives, but no single location is to be overflown more than twice per aircraft during each sortie. These instructions were in force on 28 June when the activity occurred at Gollinglithfoot. No subsequent changes have been made.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what qualifying criteria are required to be met by Royal Air Force aircrew before they are permitted to participate in (a) a tactical leadership training course and (b) a NATO tactical leadership programme course; what targets are set for the frequency of RAF combat-ready aircrew participation in such courses; and how many such courses have been held in each year since 1991.
Mr. Soames: The qualifying criteria for all aircrew participating in tactical leadership training is that they be at least combat ready. Combat- ready aircrew take part in a TLT once during their early career, although they may return later in a supervisory capacity. One TLT was carried out in 1991, and two courses have been held in each year since.
The pre-course standard for all aircrew participating in the tactical leadership programme is as follows: 500 hours operation flying with 100 hours on aircraft type, with pilots qualified to lead a formation of two aircraft. In addition, half the pilots in any unit detachment to TLP must be qualified to lead a formation of four aircraft or more. No targets are set for the frequency of RAF aircrew participation in TLP. Six TLP courses have been held each year since 1991, and a further out-of-area course was held in 1993 and 1994.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has made to the private sector to develop civil aviation at Royal Air Force Finningley; what replies he has received to date; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Soames: My Department has made no representations to the private sector to develop civil aviation at Royal Air Force Finningley. We are, however, considering proposals put forward by the hon. Member.
Column 108officials participating in the defence costs study working group on Royal Air Force, Finningley; and what were the number of visits paid and formal meetings held by these teams.
Mr. Soames: There has never been a defence costs study working group on Royal Air Force Finningley. As part of a wider remit, however, one of the defence costs study teams examined flying training in all three services, including that conducted at RAF Finningley. The Treasury representative on the team was Mr. R. Devereux, a grade 5 official. There is no central record of all the visits paid and meetings held by the defence costs study teams and such information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the last inspection was made at (a) Royal Air Force Finningley and (b) Royal Air Force Macrahanish under the terms of the intermediate nuclear forces treaty; when the last arrest was made at each base under the base by-laws; and how many breaches of security there have been at each base over the last 18 months.
Mr. Soames: There have been no inspections under the terms of the intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty at RAF Finningley and RAF Macrihanish; neither are declared INF inspection sites. There are no byelaws enacted under the Military Lands Acts at RAF Finningley and RAF Macrihanish; there have therefore been no arrests under any such byelaws. There have been no known unauthorised incursions at RAF Finningley and RAF Macrihanish during the past 18 months.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what were the dates, aircraft types involved, locations and risk categories of air misses numbers (a) 39/93, (b) 52/93, (c) 56/93, (d) 66/93, (e) 73/93, (f) 82/93, (g) 92/93 and (h) 113/93.
Mr. Soames: There are no air misses with the serial numbers referred to in the question. Air miss serial numbers are not necessarily continuous since an air miss report can subsequently be withdrawn. The decision to file an air miss report rests with the commander of any of the aircraft involved. There are occasionally instances when an air miss report is later withdrawn by the filing pilot when he realises that there had in fact been no risk of collision.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what hazardous waste stored at (a) Royal Air Force Finningley and (b) Royal Air Force Macrihanish is from United States bases in (i) the United Kingdom and (ii) abroad; and if there are polychlorine benzines stored at the bases.
Mr. Soames: No hazardous waste originating from United States bases in the United Kingdom or abroad is stored at RAF Finningley or RAF Macrihanish. A small number of electronic components of United Kingdom origin in equipment stored at RAF Finningley contain very small amounts of polychlorinated biphenyl. None is stored at RAF Macrihanish.
Mr. Soames: Any witness giving evidence in civil or criminal proceedings in the United Kingdom is entitled to refuse to answer any question if the answer to the question might incriminate him or her and might be used in criminal proceedings against him or her. In this case, an allegation of a technical assault on Major Kennedy by Major Carruthers could have been made. To avoid any suggestion at the trial of Major Kennedy that Major Carruthers might therefore be inhibited from giving evidence on the grounds that he might incriminate himself, the normal practice was adopted of his commanding officer condoning that allegation.
Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list by individual activity those who have been awarded contracts under the "Competing for Quality" programme for the periods (a) 1 April 1992 to 30 September 1993 and (b) 1 October 1993 to the latest available date.
Mr. Freeman: In the period from April 1992 to September 1994 the Ministry of Defence examined 82 support activities under its "Competing for Quality" programme, and as a result contracts were placed with the private sector in respect of 46 of those activities; I have written to the hon. Member with a list and have placed a copy of the letter in the Library of the House. Details of individual contracts remain commercial-in-confidence, although information on contracts awarded is published monthly in the efficiency unit's market testing bulletin, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the possibility of modifying the German AT2 anti-tank mine so as to deploy it as a de facto and anti-personnel mine.
Mr. Freeman: There are no German AT2 anti-tank mines currently in service with United Kingdom forces although they are being supplied as part of the multiple-launch rocket system, phase II. It is our established policy for security reasons not to reveal quantities of munitions held. The role of the system is the rapid deployment of minefields.
multiple-launch rocket systems and (b) the Skorpion mine-laying system.
Mr. Freeman: Although the multiple-launch rocket system phase II, which incorporates anti-tank mines, is in production, none is currently in service. It is our established policy, for security reasons, not to reveal quantities of munitions held.
The Skorpion mine-laying system is not currently in service with United Kingdom forces.
Mr. Bennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment he has made of the effect of the non-proliferation treaty in the design and maintenance of United Kingdom triggers for its nuclear weapons at the United States nuclear weapons laboratory at Sandia;
(2) what assessment he has made of the effect of the
non-proliferation treaty on the transfer under the 1958 United Kingdom, United States of America agreement on nuclear weapons or fissile material between the two countries; and what implications exist for the renewal of the treaty.
Mr. Freeman: The non-proliferation treaty has no implications for the transfer of materials and equipment between the United Kingdom and the United States under the terms of the 1958 mutual defence agreement.
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the spending on services recruitment for the last year for which figures are available; and what are his estimates for spending during the current year.
Mr. Soames: Expenditure on recruitment to the armed forces during financial year 1993 94, the most recent year for which figures are available, was £96,573,000. This figure differs from that given by my predecessor the right hon. Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley) on 20 May 1994, Official Report, column 604. This was as a result of a number of bills which were paid later than had been previously expected. It is estimated that expenditure on recruitment during the current financial year will be £92,340,000.
Mr. Macdonald: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will state the proposed schedule for contractorisation at the Royal Artillery range, Benbecula; and if he will give an assurance that Ministry of Defence personnel will be kept in place until civilian employees are ready to take on their duties.
No firm proposals have yet been made and the existing contract is scheduled to be relet at the end of 1995.
Mr. Freeman: The office of the Secretary of State for Defence is able to receive and send electronic mail to some 6,500 users internally. This should rise to 9,000 users by the end of 1995 and 12,000 users by the end of 1996.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what were the values and volumes of material exported under the two memoranda of understanding specific to tanks signed with Jordan on 28 November 1979 and 2 February 1989.
administrations not to reveal information relating to specific defence exports.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a table of the total value of defence exports exported through the Defence Export Sales Organisation in each year since 1981.
Mr. Freeman: The information requested is contained in table 2, vote 3, class I, supply estimates. The most recent edition is for 1994 95--HC276 -I, and copies of this are available from the Library of the House.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department, its officials, or any person acting on their behalf have been involved in negotiations jointly with United Kingdom enterprises and enterprises in Chile in the last 10 years.
Mr. Freeman: Officials from the Defence Export Services Organisation within my Department have supported efforts by various UK companies to form relationships with Chilean enterprises. However, negotiations between United Kingdom and foreign enterprises are a commercial matter in which the MOD does not participate.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence through what agents the oil made available to him as part of the Al-Yamamah contracts was placed on the commodity markets; and what have been the transaction costs involved.
Mr. Freeman: Details of the funding arrangements for Al-Yamamah are a matter for the Saudi Arabian Government. It is not our practice to comment on detailed matters concerning individual defence exports sales.
Column 112provisions in the government-to-government memorandum of understanding covering the programme.
Sir Nicholas Bonsor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 15 December 1994, Official Report, column 809, for what military purpose the 12 light dumpers referred to are required; what factors led him to conclude that leasing was not appropriate in this instance; what information he has on availability on the civilian market of equivalent vehicles; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman: The 12 light dumpers are to be held available for short notice, air portable deployments. Given this requirement a short-term lease arrangement would not meet the time required to prepare commercial machines to meet the military specification, while a long-term leasing arrangement would not be cost effective in view of the need to ensure short notice priority for military requirements. A/S Hydrema is the only manufacturer, with the necessary quality assurance certification, who can supply light dumpers of the size required by MOD.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made as to the additional costs which will be incurred by his Department as a result of the changes in national telephone dialling codes next year; and how much this change will cost his Department in additional expenditure.
Mr. Freeman: The reprogramming of all the Ministry of Defence telephone exchanges and call connect systems in order to access the new Oftel national dial codes was completed in August 1994 and both the new and old codes now operate in parallel. Call information record and management systems have also been reprogrammed, together with the MOD's call barring and routing tables. Stock orders for all new letterheaded stationary, business cards, and so on, ordered after 1 August 1994 have the respective new dial codes shown.
An estimate of the cost for these number changes across the Ministry of Defence, is £15,000.
Mr. Freeman: The test and evaluation establishment at West Freugh is not part, at present, of the Defence Research Agency. It is capable of providing the necessary facilities for radar bomb scoring and has the required radars and instrumentation for such activity.
Mr. Freeman: The Ministry of Defence has invited four potential prime contractors to bid for the supply of a maritime patrol aircraft to replace the Nimrod early next century. The four contractors are British Aerospace, Dassault, Lockheed and Loral ASIC. I expect a contract
Column 113to be let with the winner of this international competition in the late summer of 1996.
Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department is now in a position to issue a cardinal point specification in relation to the defence fixed telecommunication service; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Beckett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what independent evaluations into (a) the cost-effectiveness, (b) the impact on equity of treatment and (c) the effect on bureaucracy of fundholding have been commissioned; and which of them have been published.
Mr. Malone: We welcome the recent independent evaluations of the benefits of general practitioner fundholding. These include: "Evaluating the NHS Reforms", Kings Fund Institute 1994; "Implementing GP Fundholding", Howard Glennester et al. 1994; and the "OECD Economic Survey 1993 94: United Kingdom". On 20 December, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced a review of bureaucracy in general practice.