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Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many missions or training packages involving UK armoured vehicles and tanks as part of Saif Sareea II were (a) cancelled and (b) reduced in package due to (i) serviceability shortfalls and (ii) technical malfunctions in the vehicles; what percentage of missions or training packages involving UK armoured vehicles or tanks this represents; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon [holding answer 8 November 2001]: Inevitably on occasions minor technical or mechanical problems temporarily required individual Challenger 2 tanks and other vehicles to undergo short periods of maintenance, but overall the armoured vehicles deployed on Exercise Saif Sareea 2 successfully completed the tasks required of them.
The extent of the involvement of Challenger 2 was, however, adjusted during the exercise as further experience was gained in operating the tank in the harsh desert environment. Previous experience of operating other armoured vehicle types in desert conditions meant that maintenance could be more accurately programmed and no adjustment to their involvement was necessary.
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Mr. Hoon: The extent to which logistic support to a major exercise is conducted tactically requires a very careful balance to be made between the effective conduct of the wider exercise, the training benefit to be gained and the costs both financial and on military manpower. In the case of Exercise Saif Sareea, the vast majority of logistic support was conducted tactically throughout the exercise play.
The sole major exception to this was third line logistic support to the deployed land forces: logistic support to land forces in the exercise area was conducted tactically, but was non-tactical along the 1,200 kilometre line of communication across Oman. To have deployed tactically at third line would have placed a major additional burden on army logistics staffs, with little or no gain in terms of training benefit.
Mr. Ingram: The cluster bombs used in Afghanistan have not been prohibited by any treaty or convention and they are employed only against legitimate terrorist and military objectives where they are the most effective weapon to attack the target concerned. All types of munitions can fail in various ways and cluster bombs are no exception. However, it is not for Her Majesty's Government to comment on the performance of US weapons.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what communications have taken place between his Department and operational commanders involved in military actions in Afghanistan in respect of the clear labelling of yellow cluster bombs and yellow food parcels; and what plans there are to halt the use of cluster bombs by the Allied coalition forces involved in operations in Afghanistan. 
Mr. Ingram: We are in close touch with the US on all aspects of the response to the 11 September attacks, including at the military planning level. I understand that the US authorities have recognised that there is a problem with bomblets from cluster bombs and food parcels both being yellow. They have, therefore, dropped leaflets with diagrams of the two explaining which should be approached and which avoided.
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Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 29 October 2001, Official Report, column 519W, which categories of nuclear weapons contain depleted uranium; and what the purpose is of including depleted uranium in these weapons. 
Dr. Moonie: The UK Trident warheads for our nuclear deterrent contain depleted uranium. The purpose of this material is ultimately associated with the functioning of the warhead and the details are classified. For this reason I am withholding this information under Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
Dr. Moonie: The information is not held in the format requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The Ministry of Defence places around 50,000 contracts annually with a total value of around £9 billion.
Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence has been conducting an extensive review of all its logistic stockholdings to ensure consistency with defence planning assumptions. This work started over 12 months ago. In light of September 11, and as a standard military practice, we have reviewed the validity of that original work.
Dr. Moonie: Following the successful employment of personal role radios by 45 Commando RM on Exercise Saif Sareea 2, we expect to meet the declared in-service date by the end of this year, some three months earlier than planned.
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Dr. Moonie: The Indirect Fire Precision Attack (IFPA) project will provide the Army with all-weather, 24-hour Indirect Fire System for the precision attack of targets at extended range. BAE Systems has been selected, after competition, as the preferred bidder to manage the Assessment Phase contract, which is expected to be placed in early 2002.
On current plans we expect to decide whether to proceed into the demonstration and manufacturing stage in 2005. If so the first IFPA capability would be delivered in 2010 and full IFPA capability would then enter service after 2015, incrementally under Smart Acquisition.
Mr. Ingram: Responsibility for airport security rests with the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR), who are currently working on this issue in consultation with other Departments, including the Ministry of Defence. There are long-standing arrangements for the armed forces to provide support to the DTLR, should a specific threat arise.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to deploy (a) armed forces personnel and (b) reservists to protect critical elements of the civil national infrastructure, other than nuclear power installations. 
Mr. Ingram: Security of the critical elements of the civil national infrastructure rests with a number of Government Departments. The police may request the support of the armed forces to guard key installations should other resources prove insufficient. While we maintain close contact with the police, there have been no recent requests for this support.
The possible deployment of the Territorial Army and reservists in this role will be considered during the development of the new chapter of the Strategic Defence Review, announced in the House on 4 October. This work will consider the requirement for additional resources, should this and/or other roles be identified, and the cost-effectiveness of the armed forces playing a greater part in this work.
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