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Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the recently published report by the United Nations Environment Programme into the environmental and health impact of the use of depleted uranium munitions by NATO forces during the conflict over Kosovo. 
UNEP announced its intention in September 2000 to conduct field studies of sites in Kosovo that were struck by ordnance containing depleted uranium during the Kosovo crisis and undertook a field mission during November 2000. The mission to Kosovo took vegetation, soil and water samples and radiological measurements in chosen target sites. The mission also planned to undertake an analysis of the toxicological situation. The samples have been sent to a number of European laboratories for further analysis. UNEP announced some preliminary findings following this field mission, by way of press releases. When the final report is published, we will make an assessment of its findings.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if it remains his policy to sanction the use of munitions containing depleted uranium in future operations in which the United Kingdom is involved; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon [holding answer 11 January 2001]: Depleted uranium (DU) ammunition provides a battle winning military capability. Alternative materials are not as effective. Therefore DU will remain part of our arsenal for the foreseeable future because, when this country commits our forces to conflict, we fight to win. Our troops need the best available equipment to enable them to do this. To deny them a legitimate capability would be quite wrong.
Mr. David Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if Russia will participate in the forthcoming NATO theatre ballistic missile defence feasibility studies; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: The Ministry of Defence is not aware of any plans for Russian participation in the forthcoming NATO theatre ballistic missile defence feasibility studies. There have, however, been discussions between NATO and Russia in recent months on the scope for co-operation on theatre missile defence and related issues.
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Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the anti-tank weaponry available to his Department for purchase, indicating which of these weapons are in use in NATO forces. 
As part of the acquisition process we publish details of the capability that we need to acquire. We then invite industry to present potential solutions that they believe will meet our requirements. We do not seek to assess every anti-tank weapon available for potential procurement, though we keep major developments under review.
(1) These figures do not include non-army air corps officers and soldiers who may have qualified as army pilots in the past but have since returned to their original army or service and are no longer employed as pilots.
(2) 1,492 pilots (including 30 women) currently fill flying posts in the RAF. This figure includes 561 fast jet pilots, five of whom are women. The remaining pilots are employed in ground based posts that require specialist aircraft knowledge and experience.
(3) As at 1 December 2000.
(4) These figures relate only to those individuals who are in the flying training system and do not include army air corps direct entry officer cadets who are currently under training at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
(5) Includes 458 personnel (15 women) who have yet to be assigned to a particular role, 17 of whom (one female) are officer designates undergoing initial officer training.
(6) As at 1 December 2000.
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|Swiftsure class SSN||Planned operational decommissioning date|
|Trafalgar class SSN||Planned operational decommissioning date|
Mr. Spellar: As at 26 January 2001, the Royal Navy had a total of 74 Lynx helicopters, of which 48 constituted the Active Fleet. Of these, 33 were fully serviceable. These figures provide a snapshot on a specific date. Numbers can change on a daily basis as aircraft move in and out maintenance.
Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the sums to be paid to the US as part of the British contribution to the EMD phase of the JSF project are already provided for in the defence estimates; and if he will make a statement. 
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(3) what sonar equipment will be carried by the Type 45 destroyers; 
(4) if he will list the anti-submarine systems carried by the Type 45 destroyers, and the age of the sonars involved. 
Dr. Moonie: As I stated on 21 December 2000, Official Report, columns 248-51W, a contract was placed on 20 December with BAE Systems Electronics (the nominated Prime Contractor for the Type 45 programme) for the Demonstration and First-of-Class Manufacture phase covering the completion of the design and build of the first three Type 45 destroyers. Equipped with the Principal Anti-Air Missile System, the primary role of the Type 45 is anti-air warfare, although it will have an anti-submarine capability.
Following contract signature we have been able to accelerate the fitting of a hull-mounted sonar, the top requirement within the Incremental Acquisition Plan (IAP), so that this is now achievable in all Type 45s as they are built. An Invitation to Tender for the sonar system will be issued by the Prime Contractor in February and we envisage that a new, off-the-shelf system will prove to offer best value for money.
The Type 45 has been designed with a much lower acoustic signature than the existing Type 42, and this will reduce the likelihood of its detection by submarines. From the outset, in addition to the sonar, the Type 45's anti-submarine warfare capability will be provided by the Lynx HMA Mark 8 helicopter; the ships will also be fully interoperable with the Merlin HM Mark 1 anti-submarine helicopter. These aircraft will carry Stingray anti- submarine torpedoes. The Type 45s will also be equipped, from build, to carry the Surface Ship Torpedo Defence System (SSTD) towed and expendable acoustic decoys. In the longer term, all the Type 45s will also be fitted to deploy enhanced SSTD countermeasures, and this requirement forms part of the Type 45 IAP.
Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if it is a requirement of the ministerial approvals for the current procurement strategy for the Type 45 destroyer that BAE Systems Marine and Vosper Thorneycroft are prepared for effective competition downstream in the programme; 
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(3) pursuant to his answer of 21 December 2000, Official Report, columns 249-50W, what obligations the DFM contract places upon BAE Systems Electronics to prepare BAE Systems Marine and Vosper Thorneycroft to compete for later ships of the class; 
(4) pursuant to his written answer of 21 December 2000, Official Report, columns 249-50W, if acceptance of BAE Systems Marine's unsolicited proposal would require (a) amendment and (b) renegotiation of the DFM contract with BAE Systems Electronics. 
Dr. Moonie: In his statement on 11 July 2000, Official Report, columns 701-12, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence advised the House that, under the control of the Prime Contractor (BAE Systems Electronics), a single design definition is being developed involving the two shipbuilders BAE Systems Marine and Vosper Thorneycroft. This will mean, that from the outset, we have a design that can be efficiently constructed by either company, and that this will assist competition for follow-on ships. This is the basis of the Demonstration and First of Class Manufacture (DFM) contract which covers the design and build of the first three ships only. Our procurement strategy has not changed.
The DFM contract requires all sub-contracts with a value in excess of £500,000 to be competed unless agreed otherwise between the Prime Contractor and the MOD. The Prime Contractor is also required to satisfy the MOD that prices of an sub-contracts to be placed non- competitively are fair and reasonable. The MOD is free to decide in what manner it wishes to be associated with the pricing of sub-contracts and, through the mechanisms described above, will have a close oversight of them. The Prime Contractor is responsible for the selection of his sub-contractors and the risk that the Prime Contractor has accepted in the contract will remain unchanged by this oversight.
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