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Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the decision to award the Saab Bofors Dynamics team the preferred supplier status for the NLAW programme. 
Dr. Moonie: Saab Bofors Dynamics Ltd (SBD) was selected as the preferred bidder for the armed forces Next Generation Light Anti-Armour Weapons (NLAW) following a competition. Selection of the Saab weapon, known as MBT-LAW, presents an excellent opportunity
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for United Kingdom industry and is expected to create or sustain more than 500 jobs across the United Kingdom. The weapon also has significant export potential.
The programme is being undertaken in collaboration with the Kingdom of Sweden, enhancing our ties with an EU partner. A memorandum of understanding between our two Governments for the development and production of MBT-LAW is due to be signed shortly.
This capability will be enhanced with the introduction of the Light Forces Anti-Tank Guided Weapon System (LF ATGWS) which will replace MILAN between 2005 and 2008 and the Next Generation Light Anti-Armour Weapon (NLAW) which will replace LAW 94mm in 2007.
Mr. Ingram: Joint tactical information and distribution system (JTIDS) capability is being fitted to Sea King AEW and Nimrod R and, on current plans, Eurofighter, Nimrod MRA4, ASTOR, A400M and the future strategic tanker will come into service fitted with this capability. The cost of fitting and supporting these aircraft is estimated to be of the order of £560 million. In the longer term, new aircraft types, such as the future joint combat aircraft, are expected to have this capability.
Mr. Ingram: The Tornado F3 fleet is currently undergoing or planned to undergo, a number of upgrade activities that will maintain the aircraft's operational capability for the remainder of its in-service life. The work comprises integration of secure communication equipment, a successor identification friend or foe system, an instrumentation enhancement to aid training and a programme to maximise the effectiveness of the advanced medium range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM).
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Mr. Ingram: The additional training required to qualify Harrier GR7 pilots for aircraft carriers combat ready (Day) and (Night) status has historically taken a minimum of 16 aircraft carrier based flying days during which 15 day time sorties and five night time sorties must be accrued. The night sorties must be undertaken within 72 hours of the last day time sortie. The length of time to complete this training can vary, as it is aircraft carrier availability and weather dependent. It would be rare for the training to be completed within 16 days, however, on occasions when optimum operating conditions have been experienced, some pilots have qualified in a slightly shorter time.
Mr. Ingram: The maximum full front line strength of the three operational Harrier GR7 squadrons is 48 pilots and it is unlikely that there would be a requirement to train more than that number. 36 pilots are currently qualified to fly operations from aircraft carriers. Training to enable Harrier GR7 pilots to conduct aircraft carrier based operations is usually conducted as part of a Squadron's routine training programme. The maximum number of pilots that could be trained for aircraft carrier operations at any one time is dependent on a wide range of factors. These include aircraft carrier availability, operational tempo, pilot requirement for such training, weather conditions and completing training priorities, themselves dictated by anticipated operational requirement.
Mr. Ingram: It is planned that all RAF Harrier GR7 pilots will be trained for aircraft carrier operations at some stage during their first front line tour. All RN Sea Harrier FA2 pilots migrating to the Harrier GR7 will undertake aircraft carrier based training after completing conversion and a Combat Ready work up syllabus.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Harrier GR7 pilots are trained for operations from aircraft carriers; and what plans he has to increase the numbers of Harrier GR7 pilots trained for flying operations from aircraft carriers. 
Mr. Ingram: There is currently an established front line strength of 48 Harrier GR7 pilots, of which 75 per cent., 36 pilots, are currently qualified to fly operations from aircraft carriers. There are currently no plans to increase that ratio.
Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken, following the announced early retirement of the Sea Harrier FA2 from service, to ensure that the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force benefit from a common standard of upgraded engine
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across the Harrier aircraft fleet, with the objective of improving the aircraft's performance and operational efficiency and reducing its cost of ownership. 
Mr. Ingram: We do not currently plan to upgrade the Pegasus engines of the full Harrier GR fleet, as the current partial fleet fit with the upgraded engines fulfils all our operational requirements. While there could be some operational and logistical benefits in a full Harrier fleet engine upgrade, the benefits over the partial fit would be marginal and are not sufficient to outweigh the substantial costs involved, particularly in view of the aircraft's out-of-service date. Our decision to retire the Sea Harriers from service does not alter this position.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when work to upgrade Harrier GR7 to GR9 will commence; how many aircraft are planned to be upgraded; and what the yearly delivery schedule is for the upgraded aircraft. 
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what action he has taken to identify the author of the letter published in The Times on 13 May signed as from Paul Hamblin and Don Holland. 
Mr. Webb: To ask the Prime Minister how much was spent by his Department on paying pensions to retired employees of his Department in 200102; if he will estimate the corresponding amounts to be spent in (a) five years' time, (b) 10 years' time, (c) 20 years' time and (d) 30 years' time; if he will estimate in each case the
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proportion of such liabilities which will arise from (i) unfunded pension schemes and (ii) pre-funded pension schemes; and in the case of pre-funded schemes, if he will estimate the value of the corresponding pre-funded funds in each of these years. 
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