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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 2 December 2002


Fire Training

Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many military personnel were undergoing training on red fire engines; and how many fire engines were being used for such training before the outbreak of the firefighters' strike. [84223]

Mr. Ingram: The core emergency fire cover provided by the armed forces continues to be based around the fleet of Green Goddesses, and training was initially focused on them. Subsequent to the start of the strike, some 80 red fire engines have since been made available and military personnel have completed training on them.


Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what extra resources have been deployed in the defence of Gibraltar this year. [84382]

Mr. Ingram: The United Kingdom retains a sizeable defence presence on Gibraltar. No significant extra resources have been deployed in the defence of Gibraltar this year.


Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Al Qaeda terrorists he estimates were (a) killed and (b) captured by British forces deployed in Task Force JACANA in Afghanistan. [84527]

Mr. Hoon: None.

Aircraft Carriers

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the capabilities of the two new aircraft carriers will be; how many and what types of aircraft and helicopters will be on board; and if he will make a statement. [83224]

Dr. Moonie: The two new carriers (CVF) will have the capability to deploy offensive air power in support of the full spectrum of future operations.

The numbers and types of aircraft aboard CVF will depend upon the operational circumstances at the time. However, the CVF will have the capacity to operate a wide range of aircraft, including maritime airborne surveillance and control (MASC) platforms and helicopters in a variety of roles (for example, attack, surveillance, anti-submarine warfare and support.) As announced on 30 September 2002, the short take off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the F35 joint strike fighter (JSF) has been selected to meet the joint combat aircraft (JCA) role, operating either from the carriers or from land. Although CVF will, at the outset, operate the

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STOVL F35, it highly desirable that they could be modified to fly a further generation of aircraft, even beyond the F35, whether or not these too are STOVL. That is why we have decided they will be built to an innovative, adaptable plan.

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what defence systems the new aircraft carriers will have; and what the minimum protection required will be from the surface fleet on operations. [83226]

Dr. Moonie: We are still evaluating the options for on-board self-defence systems on the carrier and no final decisions will be made until the main gate business decision late in 2003. We expect normal operating practice for the future aircraft carriers (CVF) to call for a multi-layered approach to defence, including escort ships, submarines and aircraft. CVF will also operate joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft in both offensive and defensive roles, as well as Merlin anti submarine helicopters .

Unexploded Ordnance

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what ordnance management guidelines his Department has on the clearing of the Archers Post training ground in Kenya. [83702]

Mr. Ingram: The British Army mandates strict standards on the management of ordnance, which apply throughout the world. These regulations require all range conducting officers involved with unit live firing exercises to adhere to safe practices and range clearance procedures and include instructions on the reporting, recording and destruction of unexploded ordnance. The units undertaking the annual explosive ordnance clearance exercise in Kenya (Exercise PINEAPPLE) conform to these regulations.

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the disposal cost of unexploded ordnance in the Archers Post training ground in Kenya is. [83703]

Mr. Ingram: It is not possible to provide costs for the ordnance clearance undertaken by the individual units on completion of their training activity at Archers Post. The cost of the annual explosive ordnance disposal exercise (Exercise PINEAPPLE) is estimated at approximately £35,000 per annum. This figure does not include either capitation or transportation costs, to and from Kenya, of the personnel involved in the exercise.

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence to what depth the Ministry of Defence surveys when carrying out clean up operations in Archers Post, Kenya. [83706]

Mr. Ingram: The clearance of unexploded ordnance at Archer's Post is, in the main, carried out by visual search. Where there is evidence of unexploded ordnance in particular areas, instrumentation is used to conduct a more intensive search. There is, therefore, no specific survey depth employed for clearance of unexploded ordnance across the entirety of Archer's Post.


Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the Army indicated when last questioned, that they were satisfied with (a) the amount

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of entitled leave they are able to take, (b) the frequency of operational tours, (c) the length of operational tours and (d) intervals between operational tours; what percentage of those responding this represents; what percentage of actual strength this represents; and if he will make a statement. [82482]

Dr. Moonie: The Army has been conducting the Continuous Attitude Survey (CAS) for over 20 years. It is a valuable tool in understanding the current thinking of Army personnel and is used to help manage retention, exercise duty of care and report on progress with Army and wider Departmental initiatives. The latest survey, which was undertaken in March/April 2002, was only sent to a 4 per cent. random sample of the trained Army (excluding Gurkhas and Full Time Reserve Service personnel); 3,978 questionnaires were sent out.

The percentages of those who responded to the most recent CAS, that are satisfied, dissatisfied or do not have a strong opinion regarding Operational tours and leave, are shown in the table.

Percentage satisfiedPercentage neutralPercentage dissatisfied
Amount of leave492427
Frequency of operational tours373330
Length of operational tours433522
Tour intervals303634

I am unable to provide the percentage of the actual strength that this represents.

Missile Defence

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his estimate is of the cost to the United Kingdom of a possible ballistic missile defence system involving new weapons and the latest technology; what assessment he has made of the benefits of the system; what his policy is on the response of the UK Government to a country firing a ballistic missile at the United Kingdom; what his estimate is of a likely non-country actor obtaining and firing a ballistic missile at the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. [83871]

Mr. Hoon: As I told the House on 17 October 2002, Official Report, column 503, it is right that we recognise the potential contribution of missile defence to a comprehensive strategy to deal with the threat from ballistic missiles. No realistic cost estimates can be made at this stage. The United States Government has made no specific decisions on the overall architecture of a US missile defence system. No decision has been taken on the acquisition of a missile defence system by the UK.

The firing of a ballistic missile at the UK from any source would be a clear act of aggression which would receive a proportionately serious response. We currently assess the possibility of a non-state actor obtaining and launching a ballistic missile at the United Kingdom as remote.

Car Parking

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many car parking spaces are available to

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(a) employees of his Department and (b) visitors to his Department within the proposed Central London Road User Charging Zone. [81863]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 19 November 2002]: The following table shows the numbers of vehicle parking spaces for departmental buildings within the proposed Central London Road User Charging Zone.

LocationVehicle parking spaces
Main Building68
Old War Office24
St. Giles Court32
St. Georges Court12
St. Christopher House26
Castlewood House6
Horse Guards18
Rochester Row5
TAVRA buildings9


For Whitehall buildings spaces are provided for official vehicles, shift workers and disabled staff. Members of staff who choose to drive to work are not permitted to use a parking space. For the duration of the redevelopment work at Main Building a temporary car park has been created in Embankment Gardens. The north and south car parks are not is use.

In addition, Wellington Barracks has 270 spaces of which 266 are allocated to residents.

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