Previous Section Index Home Page


Mines

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his Department's rationale underlying the procurement of the future anti-personnel scatterable mine; [1072]

Mr. Arbuthnot: I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for South Shields (Dr. Clark) on 19 October 1995, Official Report, column 352.

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence from which supplier his Department has decided to procure the vehicle-launched scatterable mine system. [1078]

Mr. Arbuthnot: A final decision has yet to be taken.

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what is the current progress of the "mines in the new century" programme; [1070]

22 Nov 1995 : Column: 173

Mr. Arbuthnot: Current plans are to introduce a pattern anti-tank mine system--"mines in the new century"--that will replace the Barmine system in the first decade of the next century. However, we are currently considering our future requirements for this nature of weapon and no firm decisions have been taken. Any new mines introduced into service would have a self-neutralising or self-destruct capability and would fully meet the requirements of the international laws of armed conflict.

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department intends to order the aimed controlled effect anti-tank mine. [1077]

Mr. Arbuthnot: We are currently engaged in a development programme with France and Germany for the aimed controlled effect anti-tank mine. A decision concerning a production order will be made at the end of this phase and in the light of our continuing review of requirements for anti-tank mines.

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the British armed forces last deployed anti-personnel mines in a tactical role; if this minefield was marked; when was it neutralised; and by whom. [1069]

Mr. Soames: It is not our practice to comment on the operational deployment of mines. The armed forces use all mines responsibly and in accordance with the laws of armed conflict to minimise the danger both to civilians and our own forces. In particular, all minefields are recorded and they are marked when appropriate. Wherever practicable, the UK armed forces have cleared mines which they have laid, once they were no longer needed.

Arms Exports (Iraq)

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what dates his Department was informed of contracts relating to (a) Project Babylon, (b) Baby Babylon and (c) super-gun propellant; and what was the response of his Department. [997]

Mr. Arbuthnot: I refer the hon. Member to the memorandum presented by the Ministry of Defence to the Trade and Industry Select Committee in February 1992, HC86-xv. These are matters which are under investigation by Sir Richard Scott's inquiry. It would not be appropriate for me to comment further until Sir Richard has reported.

Ministerial Transport, London

Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many times in the last year he used (a) the London Underground and (b) London Buses while on official business. [417]

Mr. Portillo: None on Ministry of Defence business.

Jordan Defence Package

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date his Department was made aware of allegations of fraud, involving (a) Royal Ordnance, (b) BMARC and (c) Astra in the Jordan defence package;

22 Nov 1995 : Column: 174

and what response was made by his Department to these allegations. [1031]

Mr. Arbuthnot: Allegations of corruption involving Royal Ordnance and the Astra group of companies were made to the Ministry of Defence police in early 1990 and investigations began on 1 February 1990. They were not linked to the Jordan defence package. Any investigation into breaches of export control is a matter for HM Customs and Excise.

Harrier GR7

Mr. Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Harrier GR7s are presently available in service to the RAF. [366]

Mr. Soames: The RAF's Harrier GR7 operational fleet comprises 45 aircraft establishment and two in-use reserve.

Private Finance Unit

Mr. John Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the cost of the MOD private finance unit in the last year; and how many staff are employed in the unit. [52]

Mr. Arbuthnot: It is expected that the cost of the MOD private finance unit will be about £240,000 in 1995-96. Seven staff are employed in the unit: five civil servants and two private sector appointees.

Operation Deliberate Force

Mr. Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of the (a) laser-guided bombs and (b) 1,000 lb free fall bombs dropped by the RAF during Operation Deliberate Force hit their targets; how many of each type of bomb hit each of the targets which were hit by RAF aircraft; and how many of each type of bomb failed to hit a target. [369]

Mr. Soames: The information is not available in the form requested. Nineteen targets were assigned to be attacked with laser-guided bombs, and 43 of the 48 bombs which were dropped are assessed to have been successful. All 19 targets were either destroyed or severely damaged. Eight targets were assigned to be attacked with 30 1,000 lb free-fall bombs, but it is more difficult to assess the success of these weapons as other NATO aircraft attacked the same targets. However, it is assessed that there were three direct hits.

Mr. Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the definition of hitting a target and the circular error probable for each of the types of munition used in Operation Deliberate Force. [370]

Mr. Soames: The definition of hitting a target varies with the objective of a mission, the type of weapon and the nature of the target. Information about the circular error probable for the weapons used in Operation Deliberate Force is classified.

Jaguar GR1B Aircraft

Mr. Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Jaguar GR1B aircraft are presently available in service to the RAF. [364]

22 Nov 1995 : Column: 175

Mr. Soames: Seven Jaguar GR1B aircraft are currently in RAF service.

Royal Ordnance (Police)

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what employer or contractual relationship exists between British Aerospace Royal Ordnance and the Ministry of Defence police. [988]

Mr. Soames: This matter is under review. The Ministry of Defence police are employed at five British Aerospace-owned Royal Ordnance plc sites. The greater part of the cost of their services is repaid to the Ministry by the company under the terms of an agreement made in 1985.

Racism

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent allegations of racism within the armed forces have been communicated to his Department; what action he has taken in respect of them; and if he will make a statement. [318]

Mr. Soames: Since 1 January 1995, three incidents of alleged racism have been reported in the Army and three in the Royal Air Force. Disciplinary action has been recommended in one case; the remaining five cases are still under investigation. There have been no cases reported in the Royal Navy.

Racial abuse or discrimination is not tolerated in the armed forces. Complaints of racial discrimination are investigated and, if proven, appropriate action is taken against the offenders.

A code of practice on race relations in the armed forces has been enforced throughout the services since December 1993.

International Military Services Ltd

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which members of his Department are on the board of International Military Services. [1022]

Mr. Arbuthnot: International Military Services Ltd. is a company wholly owned by the Secretary of State for Defence. No serving member of his Department is on the board of that company.

Low Flying

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if military aircraft are permitted to exceed the speed limits for the United Kingdom low flying system when within weapons range danger areas. [424]

Mr. Soames: No.

Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many complaints about low flying have been received from the area formerly covered by the southern part of the Prestwick-Glasgow avoidance area since 7 November 1994. [1282]

Mr. Soames: My Department has received approximately 40 complaints and inquiries about military low flying since 7 November 1994 from the area formerly covered by the southern part of the Glasgow-Prestwick avoidance area.

22 Nov 1995 : Column: 176

Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the minimum permitted altitude for air combat manoeuvring raining over the United Kingdom. [1284]

Mr. Soames: The minimum permitted altitude for air combat manoeuvring training over the United Kingdom is 5,000 ft above ground level.


Next Section Index Home Page