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Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress he and his European counterparts have made in implementing the OCCAR Convention; and if he will list the projects that organisation will be overseeing. 
Mr. Hoon: The OCCAR Convention was signed by the Defence Ministers of France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom in September 1998. Following the passage of the relevant legislation through Parliament earlier this year, the United Kingdom ratified the Convention on 3 May and deposited its instrument of ratification on 11 May. France and Germany have also completed the ratification process, and Italy has presented
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the Convention to its Parliament. We expect Italy to complete the ratification process by the end of this year, after which OCCAR will have its own legal identity.
OCCAR is already responsible for the management of seven European collaborative defence equipment programmes under existing administrative arrangements. Two of these involve the UK: the Counter Battery Radar (COBRA) programme; and the Multi Role Armoured Vehicle (MRAV) programme. Other programmes will be integrated into OCCAR in due course, as appropriate.
Mr. Spellar: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Totnes (Mr. Steen) on 1 December 1999, Official Report, column 191W, which stated that we have extended the Gurkha Reinforcement Companies and introduced a second Gurkha Engineer Squadron and Gurkha Signal Squadron. We have no current plans to recruit another Battalion of Gurkhas.
Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many former members of the Ulster Defence Regiment whose claims for the Accumulated Service Medal were reviewed because of insufficient evidence were (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful in claiming the medal. 
Dr. Moonie: A total of 327 such cases have been considered by the Army Medal Board to date. Of these, 256 have been successful, 54 proved to have no entitlement and were rejected, and 17 have been returned to the Regimental Headquarters of The Royal Irish Regiment for further investigation. An additional 821 applications, for the Accumulated Campaign Service Medal, have still to be prepared for Army Medal Board Consideration.
Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what procedure was followed by the Honours and Distinction Committee to ascertain the eligibility of former members of the Ulster Defence Regiment claiming Accumulated Service Medals, but for whom the necessary records were not available. 
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(c) the value for money and (d) the competitiveness of the Cammell Laird component of the Maersk bid for ro-ro vessels. 
Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the relationship between the partnership agreement between BAe systems and his Department on maintenance and repair work and orders for ro-ro vessels. 
Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what legal advice he has had from counsel on the activities of sport divers, in relation to the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986; and if he will make a statement on his policy on intrusive diving. 
Dr. Moonie: A review of policy on wrecked military vessels is being undertaken at present. As part of this review we have looked at legal issues but it has not been necessary to seek advice from counsel as I had previously indicated. I will write to my hon. Friend when the review is complete and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost was of development of the Mk 8 MOD 14.5 inch gun system; if the programme is running to schedule; what the original estimated cost and in-service date was; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Moonie: Following initial development work at a cost of some £800,000, further development of the 4.5 inch Mk 8 MOD1 gun system is being conducted as part of a firm priced contract covering full development, initial update of eight units and support. The cost of this contract is commercially confidential and I am therefore withholding it in accordance with Exemption 13 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, which relates to Third Party's commercial confidences. The original estimated total development cost was in the order of £13 million. The development and initial
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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the cost was of developing the AGM-6562 Maverick Medium Range air to surface missile for RAF use; how long this process has taken; and if he will make a statement; 
Dr. Moonie: The AGM-65G2 Maverick Medium Range missile is a proven "off the shelf" missile. No development costs were incurred by the RAF. However, some £1.5 million was spent on aircraft integration and proof of concept work. The whole life cost of the Maverick programme is approximately £55 million, inclusive of VAT. This includes the cost of procurement, integration, training, and a Contractor Logistic Support package. The programme will last some five years, with the first missiles being deployed by the end of the year.
Mr. Spellar: The UK participated in NATO exercise Peace Shield 2000 by sending two Reservist officers: one a member of the Education and Training Support branch of the Adjutant General Corps, and a Captain in the Intelligence Corps. Both officers operated in the brigade headquarters, in the logistics and the intelligence and operations divisions respectively. Both are high-grade linguists and were widely used as interpreters. Approximately 2,000 personnel from 21 nations took part.
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