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5 Dec 2002 : Column 925Wcontinued
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contingency plans his Department has in place for taking control of civilian ships should they be required in a war effort; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: In order to meet our shipping needs in any future emergency, we would plan to charter civil shipping on the world-wide market to augment the capacity that our own ships give us. Where this is not possible, we would seek to use, where appropriate, either alternative types of ships or transport resources of allied or friendly nations or, as a last resort and in
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specific circumstances, we would requisition British shipping. Our assessment now is that there are currently enough military-useful British flagged merchant ships and United Kingdom seafarers to meet our defence needs. In concert with the Department of Transport, we continue to keep the situation under close scrutiny.
Dr. Moonie: Bowman will provide a tactical, secure, voice and data communications system for all three Services in support of land and littoral operations from 2004, in place of the Clansman family of radios. Bowman is expected to continue in service for over 20 years.
The Personal Role Radio was formally accepted into service in January 2002, two months earlier than forecast and within planned cost. This is a good example of Smart Acquisition and, as reported by the National Audit Office, the Royal Marines who used it on Exercise Saif Sareea II were delighted with its performance. It has also been used successfully in Afghanistan.
Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence does not routinely scrutinise the employment practices of companies tendering for MOD contracts, unless the transfer of public sector, or ex-public sector, employees out of the public sector under the Transfer of Undertaking (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) Regulations is likely to be involved. In these cases, the MOD will consider contractors' track records on previous TUPE transfers and employment relations issues as part of the general evaluation of proposals for managing staff issues, and within the framework of existing EU regulations.
Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the forecast in-service date for the Eurofighter was on 1 December (a) 1998, (b) 1999, (c) 2000, (d) 2001 and (e) 2002; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the forecast total cost of the Eurofighter project was on 1st December (a) 1998, (b) 1999, (c) 2000, (d) 2001 and (e) 2002; and if he will make a statement. 
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These figures exclude support costs and reflect, from 2000, the conversion of the Department's accounts from a cash to a resource basis, introducing new cost elements such as interest on capital and depreciation.
Mr. Ingram: I refer my hon. Friend to the answers I gave on 21 May 2002 Official Report, columns 16465W and 26 September 2002, Official Report, column 328W. In addition, I can confirm that the upgraded Sea King airborne early warning aircraft has now entered service with the Royal Navy.
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 25 November 2002, Official Report, column 6W, on legal services, on how many occasions in each of the past 10 years the Ministry of Defence has paid for the defence of an individual charged with a criminal offence when the offence arose as a result of actions undertaken in the course of employment; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the Government is on target to deliver the remainder of the 44 Royal Navy Merlin helicopters that are due for delivery by December 2002; what the in-service date is of
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those remaining aircraft; if he will outline the overall cost of the Merlin Helicopter Programme; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Moonie: Independent legal officers are not provided on military sites. Personnel may make use of a range of welfare and support services separate from the chain of command or they may raise complaints, to the Defence Council if necessary. They may also obtain legal advice privately if they wish.
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list, by ship type, the Royal Navy's (a) required operating fleet, (b) total departmental fleet and (c) actual operating fleet, of ships owned or leased by his Department; and if he will make a statement. 
|Type||Required operating fleet||Total dept. fleet||Actual operating fleet|
|ANTARCTIC PATROL SHIP||1||1||1|
(1) Two in build.
(2) HMS Ocean is expected to return to Fleet Time in mid December.
(3) One in build.
Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for New Forest East (Dr. Lewis) on 27 November 2002, Official Report, columns 33435W. This provides a list of the Royal Navy vessels currently in refit or undergoing repairs, and which are thus unavailable for active duty. In addition, HMS Nottingham will shortly arrive in the
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Mr. Ingram: The figures for the average number of personnel from each Service deployed on Military Tasks overseas for the quarter ending 30 September 2002, the most recent figures available, are shown in the following table. Please note that the figures do not include personnel either preparing for or recovering from deployments on Military Tasks.
|Number||Percentages of trained strength|
|Navy (including Royal Marines)||3,888||10.4|
The figures for personnel deployed overseas on 25 December in each of the last three years is not available in the required timescale. I will write to the hon.Member with the requested information and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.
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