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Mr. Hoon: The UK signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the Industrialisation and Production phase of MR TRIGAT in June 1999 in the expectation that we would shortly proceed to contract and maintain the programme to deliver a modern Anti-tank Guided Weapon capability by 2005 (when stocks of the existing MILAN system start to run down).
Regrettably, MOU signature by all five participating nations has still not been achieved. Some 12 months after our MOU commitment we are no nearer to contract placement than we were then. This additional delay, to a programme that is already 10 years behind its original schedule, and the additional risk and uncertainty it creates is unacceptable. The UK's priority has to be to deliver the capability and equipment needed by our armed forces in an acceptable timescale.
I have therefore decided that the UK should withdraw from the MR TRIGAT Industrialisation and Production programme and will pursue an alternative national procurement of an Anti-tank Guided Weapon system. We plan to use an Invitation to Tender in the next few weeks for the supply of commercially available systems to meet the requirements of our Infantry Light Forces by 2005. In parallel, we are reviewing our requirements for an Anti-tank capability for mechanised and armoured Infantry units prior to determining whether these too could be met by similar commercially available systems. Our initial assessment is that the alternative systems now available will be in many ways more capable than MR TRIGAT and offer significant financial savings.
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expected to benefit from MR TRIGAT. The UK remains committed to the principles of European collaboration provided it is in the UK's best interests. Regrettably it was not possible to proceed on this basis with MR TRIGAT, but there are a range of other programmes on which we remain engaged to good effect with our European partners.
Mr. Hoon: The UK currently contributes some 3,300 personnel to KFOR. We have maintained that flexibility and capability are the keys to successful operations in the Balkans. In this spirit, I have agreed to a NATO request to supply additional troops to cover the municipal election period in Kosovo, to ensure that the region's first steps towards democratisation are sure ones.
Subject to confirmation of the election date, the 2nd Battalion the Light Infantry will deploy to Kosovo in mid-September for a period of two months. They will be at the disposal of Command KFOR, Lt. General Juan Ortuno. I have no doubt that they will maintain the excellent tradition of UK forces in the region who, with their outstanding professionalism, dedication and skill, continue to make an outstanding contribution to the regeneration of Kosovo.
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Mr. Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list each group that is responsible to his Department, with significant and plural membership from outside the Civil Service, and to which the Nolan rules on non-departmental public bodies do not apply; and for each such group, if it (a) is a private company, (b) is a charity, (c) has no formal legal basis and (d) has some other legal basis, giving details. 
Dr. Moonie [holding answer 18 July 2000]: Details of Ministry of Defence task forces, ad hoc advisory groups and reviews are held on a central Cabinet Office database. I refer the hon. Member to the answer he received yesterday from my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, Official Report, columns 799-800W.
In addition to the above, which have temporary remits, the Ministry of Defence is responsible for a number of standing bodies with significant and plural membership from outside the Civil Service, and to which the Nolan rules on non-departmental public bodies do not apply. These include bodies which provide independent advice on aspects of the defence scientific and research programme, details of which were recently passed to the House of Commons Select Committee on Defence. Information on other bodies is not held centrally and I will write to the hon. Member in due course when the relevant data are available, and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many unfilled vacancies for permanent staff his Department has; what percentage of staff positions in his Department are vacant; what the monthly cost would be to his Department of employing civil servants in these positions; how many and what percentage of staff his Department employs on a temporary basis through employment agencies; how much his Department paid employment agencies to supply temporary staff in each of the last 12 months; and how much he expects to pay employment agencies to supply temporary staff in each of the next 12 months. 
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a list of memorandums of understanding which have been agreed between his Department and the United States Government
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since 1 May 1997, indicating the title and date of each memorandum of understanding and the name of the United States department or agency with whom the memorandum of understanding was signed in each case. 
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what dates Ministers in his Department have visited (a) RAF Menwith Hill, (b) RAF Lakenheath and (c) RAF Fairford, since 1 May 1997; and which Ministers visited on each occasion. 
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a list of Letters of Intent which have been agreed between his Department and the United States Government since 1 May 1997, indicating the title and date of each Letter of Intent; and if he will state the difference between a letter of intent and a memorandum of understanding. 
Mr. Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the Air Accidents Investigation Branch is accorded the same level of independence in the investigation of military accidents as in the investigation of civilian accidents. 
Mr. Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library the guidelines that advise accident investigators and other military personnel how to work with third party manufacturers in accident investigations. 
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