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Disposal Services Agency

Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what key targets have been set for the Disposal Services Agency for the financial year 2001–02. [5988]

Dr. Moonie: Since its launch in October 1994, the agency has positioned itself as the market leader in the disposal sales of surplus equipment and goods in the public sector. The key targets, which have been set for the chief executive of the Disposal Services Agency for this financial year, are aimed at securing disposal receipts from the sale of surplus capital assets and inventory items from both the Ministry of Defence and a range of public sector organisations. The chief executive of the agency has been set the following key targets for the financial year 2001–02.

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Defence Intelligence and

Security Centre Defence Agency

Mr. Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what key targets have been set for the Defence Intelligence and Security Centre Defence Agency for 2001–02. [5989]

Mr. Ingram: The role of the Defence Intelligence and Security Centre is to train the armed forces and other intelligence agencies in intelligence and security disciplines, and conduct after capture; to maintain an operational capability; and to contribute to effective and timely advice to the armed forces on appropriate intelligence and security matters. The key targets for the agency for the 12 months from April 2001 are:

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Ballistic Missiles (Iraq)

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of Iraq's capability to use ballistic missile technology to target surface-to-air missiles. [4040]

Mr. Hoon: Since December 1998, the Iraqi integrated air defence system has been engaged in a systematic campaign to shoot down coalition aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones. There have been over 1,800 direct threats from a range of Iraqi air defence assets, including surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery. Coalition aircraft are authorised to respond in self-defence only against air defence targets, and have done so on some 270 occasions.

Over the past two and a half years, the Iraqis have evolved a range of novel tactics, aimed at maximising the threat to the coalition while minimising the risk of being targeted by a self-defence response. In particular, we assess that Iraqi surface-to-air missiles have been launched without the support of their fire control radars, in order to hide the position of the firing unit (thereby reducing its vulnerability).

Missiles launched in this way receive no guidance information during flight and are much less likely to hit a target in comparison to a conventionally guided missile. The corollary is that there is also an enhanced risk, as with Iraq's indiscriminate use of surface-to-surface rockets in this role, of damage to civilian facilities when the missiles return to earth. Although surface-to-air missiles operated in this way follow an unguided, ballistic trajectory, there is no evidence that Iraq has employed ballistic missile technology to guide these surface-to-air missiles.

Defence Diversification Agency

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff the Defence Diversification Agency has; and where its annual reports are published. [5075]

Dr. Moonie: The Defence Diversification Agency (DDA), part of the Ministry of Defence (MOD), currently has 24 staff of which seven are MOD employees (three within the defence science and technology laboratory and four, including the director, within MOD head office) and 17 employees of QinetiQ made available to the MOD under standard project support tasking arrangements. The DDA has three aims: to extend technology and expertise within the defence sector to civilian use; to foster partnerships and joint development programmes, recognising that the civil

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sector has much potential benefit to defence; and to inform and assist the defence industry's own diversification planning. Until 1 July 2001, the DDA was part of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA), the annual reports of which cover the activities of the DDA. The most recent report is the DERA annual report 1999–2000 published by The Stationery Office in July 2000 and which has sections on such issues as "Exploiting DERA's Technology" and "Defence Diversification and Regional Development" that deal with the DDA's activities. Following the DERA public-private partnership and the formation of the new company QinetiQ on 1 July 2001, the DDA has been brought into MOD head office. We are examining how best to report on its activities in future alongside our consideration of the formation of a Defence Diversification Council, which I have already announced our intention to establish once we have experience of how the DDA will operate in practice under the new structure. I will make a further announcement in due course.

Wind Farms

Mr. Charles Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is with regard to the siting of wind farms in tactical training areas; and what research has been undertaken in developing this policy. [4872]

Dr. Moonie: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave on 22 March 2001, Official Report, column 296W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Wirral, South (Mr. Chapman).

Live Ammunition

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which foreign training sites are being used by the British Army; and at what percentage of those sites the British Army uses live ammunition. [2793]

Mr. Ingram: I will write to my hon. Friend and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Merlin Helicopter

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) budget for and (b) cost of running and maintaining the Royal Navy Merlin helicopter squadron has been in each year since they were purchased. [4339]

Mr. Ingram: The first Merlin helicopter squadron (824 training squadron) was formed in June 2000. In the financial year 2000–01, the repair and maintenance, manpower, aviation fuel and support authority operating costs for the squadron is estimated at £12 million, by comparison with a budget of £15 million.

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