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Officer Training Corps

Dr. Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the membership of the Officer Training Corps in each institution in which it operates. [13757]

Dr. Reid: The number of Officer Cadets, for which each Officer Training Corps (OTC) is established, is shown in the table. The actual number of Officer Cadets fluctuates through the year according to the academic calendar. The OTCs recruit above their established strength at the start of the academic year, to take account of the normal wastage rate, so that actual membership numbers level down to the established figure later in the year.

Number
Aberdeen168
Belfast168
Birmingham168
Bristol168
Cambridge224
East Midlands168
Edinburgh168
Exeter168
Glasgow168
Leeds168
Liverpool168
London364
Manchester168
Northumbria168
Oxford224
Sheffield168
Southampton168
Tayforth168
Wales168

Dr. Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the cost of the Officer Training Corps in the most recent year for which figures are available.[13758]

Dr. Reid: The total indentifiable cost of the Officer Training Corps (OTC) for Financial Year 1996-97 was £16.7 million, which includes staff and running costs as well as property management of the OTC estate.

Dr. Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of members of the Officer Training Corps subsequently join the regular forces.[13756]

Dr. Reid: In the academic year 1995-96, the most recent year for which complete figures are available, a total of 260 members of the Officer Training Corps were commissioned into the regular forces. Broken down by Service, one commission was into the Royal Navy, seven into the Royal Marines, 250 into the Army and two into the Royal Air Force. The overall figure of 260 represents approximately 7.5 per cent. of the total Officer Training Corps establishment.

Eurofighter

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the common air defence requirements specified in the European staff requirement for development agreed in 1987 indicating any subsequent amendments. [13861]

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Mr. Spellar: The original European Staff Requirement for Development of Eurofighter (ESR-D) was shaped by the context of the cold war, when the requirement was for an aircraft to counter massed raids of bombers under fighter escort. Following a major review, the ESR-D was reissued in January 1994 having been rewritten to reflect the radically changed political and military situation in Europe since 1987. The review took into account the dangers of regional instability, noting that a potential enemy may still have highly capable fighter aircraft; and that Eurofighter still needs to be capable of performing multiple roles on deployed operations. The aircraft offers a significant contribution to our defence capabilities.

Future Large Aircraft

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the numbers of C130Js or future large aircraft required by the Royal Air Force.[13137]

Mr. Spellar: In addition to the 25 C130J already ordered, the FLA Request for Proposal (RFP) is seeking information on orders of 40-50 aircraft to meet our Hercules Rolling Replacement requirement. The Strategic Defence Review is considering our future aircraft requirement, and the final decision on the number of aircraft the UK will buy will depend on the conclusions reached by the review and the responses to the RFP.

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his current estimate of the earliest in-service date for a future large aircraft with any European air force.[13138]

Mr. Spellar: The future large aircraft is expected to be available early next century.

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the costs to the RAF of maintaining both C130J and FLA transport aircraft in-service simultaneously. [13140]

Mr. Spellar: A preliminary assessment of the costs of meeting our future air transport requirements was made before the Secretary of State for Defence announced on 31 July 1997, Official Report, column 466, that we would join partners in issuing a Request for Proposals for the future large aircraft and would be encouraging our partners to join us in seeking competing bids from other aircraft manufacturers. This assessment indicated that there was merit in exploring the purchase of the future large aircraft to operate alongside C130Js which were ordered in 1994.

We will make a further detailed assessment, which will include an analysis of the costs of in-service support, after we have received the responses to the Request for Proposals and any competing bids. This analysis, and the conclusions of the Strategic Defence Review, will inform the final procurement decision.

RAF Transport Fleet

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will invite tenders for the replacement of the next tranche of the RAF's transport fleet. [13134]

Mr. Spellar: The Request for Proposals was issued on 4 September 1997 to Airbus Industrie, Turkish Aerospace Industries and Alenia on a provisional basis pending the formation of Airbus Military Company (AMC). We are

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still discussing with partner nations how a competition between AMC and other aircraft manufacturers might be organised.

Hercules C130J Aircraft

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if Lockheed Martin has been required to pay compensation for the late delivery of Hercules C130J aircraft. [13142]

Mr. Spellar: The Department will be seeking to claim liquidated damages from the company, which will be used to offset the additional costs incurred by the Department, as they become due.

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the current anticipated in-service date of the Hercules C130J. [13141]

Mr. Spellar: On current plans the Department will receive delivery of the first C130J for test and evaluation in the spring of 1998, and the first aircraft is expected to enter service by the end of 1998.

Royal Clarence Yard, Gosport

Mr. Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what is the cost of relocating the activities currently undertaken at the 9.5 acres of land at Royal Clarence yard, Gosport, which are currently scheduled for retention by the Ministry of Defence; [13099]

Mr. Spellar: This is a matter for the chief executive of the Naval Bases and Supply Agency. I have asked the chief executive to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from D. J. Stevens to Mr. Peter Viggers, dated 5 November 1997: