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Chinook Crash

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 25 July 2000, Official Report, column 550W, (1) on the Chinook crash, whether the emergency power warning lights were switched on at the time of the impact at the Wilmington crash; [133755]

Mr. Spellar: The incident at Wilmington, USA in 1989 concerned a Chinook HC1 that sustained severe damage. One engine and the transmission/rotor system were over-stressed, while undergoing tests on the ground as part of development testing of a pre-production FADEC system. While the incident was caused by deficient test procedures, development standard FADEC was a factor.

The aircraft did not leave the ground, and there was no crash or impact of any sort, consequently the Air Accidents Investigation Branch placed no part in the subsequent investigations. Rather, a MOD(PE) Unit Inquiry into the incident was held at Wilmington in 1989. The records of that Inquiry do not report whether or not any emergency power warning lights had been illuminated.

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 25 July 2000, Official Report, column 550W, on the Chinook crash, (a) who made the examination of the FADEC system as quoted in the Air Accident Investigation Board's report to the RAF Board of Inquiry and (b) if that examination found no possible link between the FADEC system and the accident. [133756]

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Mr. Spellar: The examination of the FADEC system of Chinook ZD576 was carried out by a Senior Inspector of Air Accidents (Engineering) of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) as part of their independent technical investigation as advisers to the RAF Board of Inquiry into the accident. In conducting the examination the AAIB followed its normal procedures. The FADEC manufacturers took part in the FADEC investigation at the behest of the AAIB to enable it to conduct its investigation more effectively. This type of assistance is routine in such technical investigations and any testing carried out by a manufacturer is directed and supervised by a member of the AAIB to ensure impartial and unbiased advice is received. The level of contractor involvement was consistent with normal practice in military and civil aircraft accident investigations.

FADEC failure was one of the possibilities considered by the Board of Inquiry. The AAIB examined the engine change units and FADEC in some detail. The Board of Inquiry report contains nothing to link the accident to the FADEC system.

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 25 July 2000, Official Report, column 550W, on the Chinook crash, if he will give details of the outcome of his Department's claim against Textron Lycoming. [133759]

Mr. Spellar: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 18 November 1997, Official Report, column 152W, to the hon. Member for Salisbury (Mr. Key).

Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the criteria on medical evidence used by the RAF Boards of Inquiry into the 1994 Chinook crash and the crash on 1 June 1995 of Harrier GR7 ZG475 were identical. [133590]

Mr. Spellar: All medical investigations following military accidents, including the 1994 Chinook crash and the crash on 1 June 1995 of Harrier GR7 ZG475, are carried out to standards agreed by NATO, and these are comparable to those of the Air Accidents Investigation Board for similar investigations following civil aircraft accidents. Medical investigations into fatal accidents for RAF Boards of Inquiry include an evaluation of the aircrew's medical history and an examination of the remains in an autopsy. However the latter may be limited by the degree of destruction to the body, often encountered in high speed accidents.

Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 11 July 2000, Official Report, column 456W, on the 1994 Chinook crash, if the fact that the mental and physical state of Flight Lieutenant Cook was most unlikely to have been a factor in the accident is sufficient to establish that there was absolutely no doubt whatsoever about the matter, under RAF Board of Inquiry rules. [133591]

Mr. Spellar: Post mortems were carried out on all the aircraft operating crew and the medical history of each of them was examined fully. The Board of Inquiry concluded that crew incapacitation was not a factor in the accident.

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 25 July 2000, Official Report, column 550W, on the Chinook crash, if he will list the

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faulty test procedures that his Department was seeking redress for in their litigation claim against Textron Lycoming. [133757]

Mr. Spellar: The information requested relates to the Arbitration proceedings concerning Ministry of Defence's claim for damages following the Wilmington incident and is covered by a confidentiality agreement about the proceedings between the parties. Accordingly, I am withholding the information requested under exemption 4c of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 25 July 2000, Official Report, column 550W, on the Chinook crash, whether Sir William Wratten and Sir John Day knew of his Department's legal claim against the FADEC manufacturer, Textron Lycoming at the time of their investigation into the fatal crash of Chinook ZD576. [133758]

Mr. Spellar: At the time of the RAF Board of Inquiry into the Mull of Kintyre accident, Sir William Wratten was not aware of this litigation and did not recall the Wilmington incident that led to this legal action being taken.

Sir John Day was aware that there had been a problem with FADEC testing, but did not know of the extent of the Department's legal claim.

Regardless of this, the investigation into the accident was very thorough. All possible causes, including FADEC, were examined, but no evidence was found of technical malfunction.

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will place in the Library a copy of the report of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch investigation of the RAF Chinook ZD576; [133996]

Mr. Spellar: Both the report of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch and the statement given by Mr. R. Parkinson form part of the RAF Board of Inquiry report concerning this accident which is not in the public domain. I regret that it is our policy to provide such Board of Inquiry reports only to those directly involved, such as the next of kin of the deceased, although of course there is nothing to stop them copying the report further if they wish to do so.

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the function of the Institute of Flight Safety; and what role it performed in the Inquiry into the crash of RAF Chinook ZD576. [133994]

Mr. Spellar: The principal aim of the Royal Air Force Inspectorate of Flight Safety (IFS) is to increase the operational effectiveness of the RAF through the promotion and development of flight safety. This is done by providing specialist flight safety advice, guidance and data to assist in eliminating unnecessary flying related risks that contribute to aircraft accidents. One of the core functions of IFS is to advise Boards of Inquiry on the procedural aspects of running such an Inquiry. This is undertaken by two trained Service accident investigation

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advisers, who also act as the first point of contact for all external agencies during the initial stages of an Inquiry. These tasks were carried out in the case of the Mull of Kintyre accident but IFS took no part in the actual Inquiry.

Royal Navy Sales

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what former Royal Navy ships have been sold in the last four years; to whom; what was received for each sale; and if he will make a statement. [134138]

Dr. Moonie: For reasons of commercial sensitivity, details of individual sales of former Royal Navy vessels cannot be given. However, during the last four financial years contracts signed from Government to Government and commercial sales of surplus vessels are as follows:

£ million

Financial yearAmount
1996-9712.9
1997-984.2
1998-990.9
1999-20000.2

The vessels sold on a Government to Government basis were:

TypeNameCountry
River Class MinesweepersHMS ItchenBrazil
HMS SpeyBrazil
HMS ArunBrazil
HMS BlackwaterBrazil
Peacock Class
Hong Kong Patrol CraftHMS PeacockPhilippines
HMS PloverPhilippines
HMS StarlingPhilippines

Additionally, two Hunt Class Mine Counter Measures vessels (HMS Bicester and HMS Berkeley) have been sold to the Hellenic Navy, Greece, (via Vosper Thorneycroft) during this financial year (2000-01). HMS Bicester was transferred 31 July 2000, and HMS Berkeley will be transferred over on 28 February 20001. These vessels are not included in the figures given.

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To list the number of vessels sold on a commercial basis could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, some of the more significant sales were:

TypeNameDestination
Royal YachtHMY BritanniaBritannia Trust
Leander Class FrigateHMS JupitorSamsung HK Ltd.
Leander Class FrigateHMS HermioneSamsung HK Ltd.
County Class DestroyerHMS KentSamsung HK Ltd.
Hecla Class Survey ShipHMS HeclaSimon Robinson
Ton Class Mine HunterHMS WiltonIMA Agents
Type 42 DestroyerHMS BirminghamResyna SA

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which former Royal Navy submarines have been sold to Canada in the last three years; what plans he has for submarine sales in the next three years and at what price; and if he will make a statement. [134137]

Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend Lord Robertson, the then Secretary of State for Defence, gave on 6 April 1998, Official Report, column 52, to my hon. Friend the Member for Wentworth, (Mr. Healey). Canada has acquired the four ex-Royal Navy Upholder class submarines. The acquisition takes the form of an eight year lease with an option of outright purchase.

The first of the submarines was handed over to Canada on 6 October 2000 and the three remaining submarines will follow over the next 18 months.

The arrangement, which includes the submarines, training and initial spares, is worth some 610 million Canadian dollars.

No other submarine sales or transfers to Canada have taken place over the last three years or are planned over the next three years.


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