22 Nov 2001 : Column: 369W
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what provision has been made for UK forces' overseas entertainment in the current financial year; and if he will give equivalent figures for each of the past five financial years. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 16 November 2001]: The paper "A Rapid Effect Capability for the Future Army" was produced for internal discussion purposes. It has been used subsequently to inform wider force development work. It has also contributed to other work to determine the optimum balance of future United Kingdom land forces.
Mr. Ingram: There are currently no plans to close RAF Lyneham. The hon. Member is aware however that a study has been commissioned as part of the Ministry of Defence's normal planning process, to consider the future roles of RAF Lyneham, RAF Brize Norton and RAF St. Mawgan.
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Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many medically downgraded personnel are serving at RAF Lyneham; if they may be deployed in the Falklands; and how that policy of deployment differs from that of the (a) Army and (b) Royal Navy. 
Mr. Hoon: There are 818 medically downgraded personnel serving at RAF Lyneham. Of these, 238 are fit for detachment to the Falkland Islands. The policy for deployment of service personnel to the Falkland Islands is centrally set by the Surgeon General's Department. It is designed to prevent risk to individuals with pre-existing medical conditions. Royal Naval personnel who are graded fit for service worldwide but subject to a specific medical condition may be deployed to the Falkland Islands if their condition permits. Army personnel must be employable on full combatant duties. RAF personnel must be fit for the full ground duties of their branch or trade, including all general service duties.
|Helicopter||Serial number||Entered service|
|Sea King HC Mk4||ZA291||1979|
|Sea King HAR 3||XZ585||1978|
|Puma HC 1||XW198 and XW199||1971|
As is standard operating procedure, no RN ship will be deployed to the Caribbean between mid-November and mid-February although a ship will be held in the UK on reduced notice to deploy to the Caribbean area of operations. Royal Fleet Auxiliary Gold Rover will, however, remain in the region throughout this period and will provide additional presence and assistance to ships of other nations int he Caribbean involved in the counter- drugs effort.
22 Nov 2001 : Column: 371W
Dr. Moonie: The decision to decommission HMS Cromer on 23 November 2001 was taken as a result of the policy-led Strategic Defence Review. The Review recognised the reduced requirement for mine clearance in home waters and concluded that a balanced force of 22 Sandown and Hunt class minehunters would be sufficient to meet envisaged levels of threat, operational tasking and commitments rather than the 23 previously planned. Plans for her disposal, including alternative Ministry of Defence use or sale, are currently under consideration.
|Year/Service||Number of formal complaintsof racial discrimination|
|1 November 200031 October 2001|
|1 November 200030 September 2001|
(1) RAF figure for October is not yet available
Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel who have been medically downgraded (a) have continued to be and (b) have subsequently been employed in operational areas in the last 12 months. 
Dr. Moonie [holding answer 21 November 2001]: The information requested is given in the table for the Army and RAF. The figures requested are not available for naval personnel. As at 20 November 2001, there were 3,678 trained naval personnel in a medically downgraded category.
(2) The figures for medically downgraded Army personnel comprise personnel at all levels of medical downgrading below fully fit. Of these, some two thirds are able to be deployed on military operations but not at the front line. The figures comprise trained personnel only.
(3) The figures for medically downgraded RAF personnel comprise personnel who are considered unfit for any type of deployment. The figures comprise trained and untrained personnel.
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Dr. Moonie: Nineteen air-to-air refuelling probes have been purchased for the C130J fleet. Full operational air-to-air refuelling capability is planned for late 2002. This will be achieved incrementally in accordance with an agreed Flight Clearance programme
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the Defensive Aids Suite capabilities on the C130K Hercules aircraft; how it compares with the US equivalent; and what plans he has to install it on the C130J. 
Dr. Moonie: The capability of the C130K Defensive Aids Suite was assessed as part of the installation development and acceptance programme, based on system requirements arising from detailed threat and countermeasure evaluation. The C130K Defensive Aids Suite will not be fitted to the C130J as Lockheed Martin is currently working to finalise an installation concept for a higher performance defensive system.
Dr. Moonie: The operational advantages of secure communications systems are well recognised and the capability is already fitted to some aircraft and others are due to be fitted. As with any defence equipment capability, decisions have to be made about priorities. A secure communications capability is not currently planned to be fitted to the Hercules C130J aircraft as we have higher operational priorities
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of (a) the fulfilment by Lockheed Martin of the terms and conditions of the contract for the supply of C130J spares and (b) the likelihood that the terms of that contract provide sufficient spares support to achieve 80 per cent. serviceability of the aircraft once fully trained crews are available. 
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Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence until what date a Defensive Aid Suite was designated as essential for deployments of Hercules aircraft in the middle east; and for what reason this designation was downgraded to desirable. 
Mr. Ingram: 16 Air Assault Brigade last exercised with Hercules aircraft during Exercise Eagles Eyean aviation battlegroup exercise that took place between 29 October and 9 November 2001. One Hercules aircraft supported the exercise on the morning of Friday 2 November 2001.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the operations upon which Hercules aircraft have been deployed over the last 12 months; and what assessment he has made of the performance of (a) the aircraft and (b) service personnel of RAF Lyneham. 
Mr. Ingram: The operations upon which Hercules aircraft have been deployed over the last 12 months are: Operation Agricola, Operation Banner, Operation Basilica, Operation Bolton, Operation Deliberate Forge, Operation Palatine, Operation Warden, Operation Engadine, Operation Silkman, Operation Contravene, Operation Resinate North, Operation Resinate South,
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Falkland Islands, Operation Bessemer and Operation Veritas. Both the Hercules C130J and C130K have consistently met operational requirements. Personnel at RAF Lyneham have continued to perform to the very high standards typical of the armed services.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the serviceability in percentage terms is of the RAF fleet of Hercules (a) C130Hon. and (b) C130J; and if he will make a statement outlining the restricting factors on performance. 
Operating ceiling: 20 per cent. higher
Normal speed: 13 per cent. faster
Fuel economy at operating ceiling: 20 per cent. better
Field length at take off: 30 per cent. less required
Field length at landing: 10 per cent. less required
Much reduced running costs.
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