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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost to the Government of participating in the US Navy's Co-operative Engagement Capability; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the Accident Investigations Branch inspector investigating the fatal crash of Chinook ZD576 on 2 June was able to determine that the SuperTANS navigational
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equipment was (a) switched on after impact and (b) functioning prior to impact; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Spellar: The Air Accidents Investigation Branch team that carried out the independent technical investigation for the RAF Board of Inquiry into the Mull of Kintyre accident reported that the SuperTANS navigation unit recovered from the cockpit wreckage was slightly fire scorched but with little apparent impact damage. The On/Off switch was found in the Off position. However, subsequent examination by the manufacturer clearly showed the unit had been operating until impact, and it appeared that the switch position had been altered by the effect of the impact.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what independent analysis was made of the SuperTANS navigation equipment from the wreckage of RAF Chinook ZD576; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Spellar: As part of the technical investigation after the Mull of Kintyre accident, a detailed investigation of the SuperTANS navigation unit was carried out by the manufacturer, RACAL Avionics Ltd., under the direction of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch. Only the manufacturer had the necessary expertise to interrogate this equipment.
Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 27 June 2000, Official Report, column 433W, on the Missile Defence System, what criteria the UK will use to determine its response should the United States choose to make a request for assistance in the deployment of a nuclear missile defence system. 
Mr. Hoon: We have made clear we would consider any request carefully in light of the circumstances at the time, taking into account relevant factors including the implications for UK defence. However, we do not yet know whether, or in what circumstances, we might receive such a request, so it is too early to indicate in more detail how or on what basis we might respond.
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Mr. Spellar: British Service personnel are not currently involved in landmine destruction per se. But they do provide technical expertise, management and specialist skills to support mine action programmes worldwide. As at 1 July, personnel were deployed as follows:
Mr. Spellar: The Government remain concerned at the degree of overstretch our armed forces have been subject to due to undermanning and the recent high level of Operational tempo. We are determined to drive this down.
Mr. Spellar [holding answer 25 July 2000]: The information requested is not readily available; however, I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.
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Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list by service, corps and regiment, recruitment levels nationally and by region of the UK for the most recent year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Spellar [holding answer 25 July 2000]: Details on armed forces recruitment levels are not held centrally in the format requested. Information is held, however, on the number of selections, by Government Office region. It should be noted that selection figures indicate those personnel who have been chosen to enter the Services. For many, the actual date of intake into the armed forces will have fallen outside the year of selection.
|Government office region||Naval Service(1)||Army(1)||RAF(1)|
(1) Naval Service data are for Other Ranks only.
(1) Army data are for Other Ranks only.
(1) RAF data includes Officers and Other Ranks.
Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the total value of assets belonging to his Department (a) nationally and (b) by UK region; and if he will break down the assets by (i) estates, (ii) kit and (iii) plant and machinery for the same areas for the most recent financial year. 
Mr. Spellar [holding answer 25 July 2000]: I regret the information sought is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. A summary of the total value of assets belonging to the Department as at 31 March 1999 is as follows:
|Land and buildings||13.5|
|Plant and machinery and vehicles||4.6|
|IT and communications||1.2|
|Assets in course of construction||9.5|
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resource accounting and budgetary arrangements. The first such account will cover the 1999-2000 financial year and will be laid before Parliament later this year following NAO examination.
The National Asset Register published in November 1997 provides some information on location of land and buildings by region. It is planned to publish an updated version of this with values later this year.
Mr. Spellar: All 15 Royal Navy submarines carry conventional weapons. Currently, nine (three Vanguard Class Trident submarines, three Trafalgar Class and three Swiftsure Class) are operationally available. Submarines in this category may be deployed at sea, in port, or carrying out trials, training or maintenance. In every case they are operational now or at very short notice. The specific operational readiness of each submarine is, however, classified and is being withheld under Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
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