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BOWMAN

Laura Moffatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the procurement strategy is for BOWMAN. [132877]

Mr. Hoon: BOWMAN aims to provide a tactical combat radio communications system to replace Clansman, which as been in service since the mid-70s.

To deliver this project, we have been working with Archer Communication Systems Ltd. (ACSL), as our preferred supplier. ACSL has improved in recent months, but we have concluded that their proposal (submitted to us on 23 June) would not represent best value for money. We have, therefore, decided to hold a competition to meet the BOWMAN requirement. Through competition, we shall seek to achieve the best combination of performance, cost and timely delivery into service. The competition will offer substantial opportunities for participation for UK industry.

Kosovo

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to improve the armed forces' equipment capability as a result of lessons learned from Kosovo. [132675]

Mr. Hoon: I refer my hon. Friend to the oral statement I made on 24 July 2000, Official Report, columns 777-89.

DERA

Mr. McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the future of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency; and if he will make a statement. [132682]

Mr. Hoon: I refer my hon. Friend to the oral statement I made on 24 July 2000, Official Report, columns 777-89.

Thomson CSF

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total cost was of work placed to Thomson CSF by his Department in each of the last three years; what the projected value is of the contracts to them for the next five years; and if he will make a statement. [130378]

Dr. Moonie: The value of contracts placed by the Ministry of Defence with Thomson CSF in each of the last three years was:

Financial year£ million
1997-9844.5
1998-9932.2
1999-200030.6

These figures are for prime contracts only, they do not include the value of any sub-contract received by Thomson CSF from MOD prime contractors.

It would not be appropriate to prejudge the results of any future competition for MOD contracts. It is therefore not possible to speculate on the projected value of the contracts which may be awarded to Thomson CSF in the

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next five years. Thomson CSF are at liberty to tender for MOD contracts and such tenders will be considered on a competitive basis with tenders received from other companies.

Staff Secondments

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the name, position, and time of placement of senior staff in his Department who have been seconded to the defence industry in the last five

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years; to which companies; how many of those employees are still employed by his Department; and if he will make a statement. [130380]

Dr. Moonie: Details of Senior Civil Servants in my Department who have undertaken secondments to companies in the defence sector over the last five years are contained in the table. Of the ten individuals, three are no longer employed by the MOD and one is currently on loan to another Government Department. Encouraging interchange with the private sector has been the policy of successive governments.

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CompanyPositionTime of placement
April 1995-March 1996
RaytheonDirector International Requirements1 year 10 months (January 1995-October 1997)
April 1996-March 1997
Avery BerkelBusiness Development Director1 year (October 1996-September 1997)
BAeProject Director, European Consolidation2 years 6 months (October 1996-March 1999)
April 1997-March 1998
GEC MarconiCommercial Director1 year (June 1997-June 1998)
Thomson Marconi Sonar LtdIn-Service Support Project10 months (November 1997-September 1998)
April 1998-March 1999
Marconi Electronic SystemsCustomer Service Project1 year 6 months (March 1999-September 2000)
April 1999-March 2000
Northrup Grumman (USA)UK Fellow for Defense Industry Strategy and Technology1 year 6 months (October 1999-April 2001)
Raytheon (USA)Manager of International Business2 years (October 1999-October 2001)
Thomson CSFTechnical/Security Director2 years (April 1999-April 2001)
April 2000
Thomson CSFDirector2 years (May 2000-May 2002)

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Plutonium

Mr. Savidge: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans his Department has to recycle plutonium from dismantled redundant nuclear warheads as civilian MOX fuel. [130678]

Mr. Spellar: I refer my hon. Friend to the answers I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Smith) on 14 March 2000, Official Report, columns 104-05W and 17 July 2000, Official Report, columns 11-12W. The Ministry of Defence's remit is to examine all options for disposing of this material including its conversion into civilian MOX fuel. However, as the quantity of weapons grade plutonium which is surplus to Defence requirements is a very small percentage of the overall UK plutonium stocks, we shall be taking account of civil industry's plans for disposal of their much larger amounts. Disposal of such materials is, of course, a very complex matter and final decisions are unlikely for quite some time.

Porton Down

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 27 June 2000, Official Report, column 434W, on Porton Down, if it is the assessment of the Chemical Defence Establishment that the nerve agent GF is more toxic to humans than sarin (GB). [130528]

Dr. Moonie: This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. I have asked the Chief Executive to write to the hon. Member.

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Letter from Sir John Chisholm to Mr. Matthew Taylor, dated 25 July 2000:




Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer on 27 June 2000, Official Report, column 435W, on Porton Down, for what reasons the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment has compiled since 1970 an alphabetical list of individuals who took part in the service volunteer programme; and when this list was compiled. [130529]

Dr. Moonie: This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. I have asked the Chief Executive to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Sir John Chisholm to Mr. Matthew Taylor, dated 25 July 2000:


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Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer on 27 June 2000, Official Report, column 435W, on Porton Down, if he will list the dates on which the Health and Safety Executive visited the Porton Down site between 1996 and 2000 in order to discuss specific issues. [130530]

Dr. Moonie: This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. I have asked the Chief Executive to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Sir John Chisholm to Mr. Matthew Taylor, dated 25 July 2000:




Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people in the UK served at (a) Porton Down and (b) other chemical and biological warfare establishments; how many of these are suffering illnesses that they claim are attributable to exposure to chemical and biological warfare experiments; how many are in receipt of pensions for these illnesses; how many of these are in Scotland; and what the total expenditure is on these in Scotland. [131590]

Dr. Moonie: This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. I have asked the Chief Executive to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Sir John Chisholm to Mr. Alex Salmond, dated 25 July 2000:




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