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Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) Tornado GR1/GR1A/GR1B/GR4/GR4A/F3, (b) Harrier GR7/T10, (c) Jaguar G1B/GR3/T2A, (d) Sentry, (e) Canberra, (f) Nimrod MR2/R1, (g) C-17A Globemaster, (h) Hercules C1/C3/C4/C5, (i) Tristar C2/K1/KC1, (j) Chinook HC2, (k) Puma, (l) Merlin, (m) Sea King, and (n) Wessex aircraft were (i) allocated to front-line units, (ii) fully serviceable, (iii) unserviceable 1st line, (iv) unserviceable 2nd line, (v) unserviceable 3rd or 4th line, (vi) on trials, (vii) held in reserve use and (viii) undergoing upgrade on 25th November; what percentage of the fleet size this represents for each category; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: The information requested is not held centrally and will take some time to gather, collate and verify. I will write to the hon .Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progess is being made in the production of the RGSR respirator for the Army; when it will be in service; what advantages it offers over other respirators; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Moonie: A decision on the award of the Assessment Phase contract for the Replacement General Service Respirator (RGSR) programme is planned for early 2003. On current plans, the equipment will enter service in the latter half of the decade. The RGSR will deliver enhanced protection levels, offer a
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Mr. Hoon: NATO and Russia have for some time sought to enhance their relationship, in recognition of their mutual security interests. The establishment of the NATO-Russia Council at the Rome Summit on 28 May 2002 saw an historic transformation of that relationship, with the 19 NATO allies now working closely together with Russia as equal partners in 20 areas of common interest, such as combating terrorism, civil emergency planning and defence reform. Encouraging progress has already been made in its first six months and it is hoped that NATO and Russia can improve and expand this level of co-operation in 2003.
Mr. Ingram: The Sea King Mark 6 Anti-Submarine Warfare aircraft are being replaced progressively by the Westland/Agusta EH101 Merlin Mkl aircraft. Of the original fleet of 48 Sea King Mk 6, 13 are still in active service with the Royal Navy and as yet no decision has been made about their future, 22 have been re- designated as Ground Instructional Aircraft, six are undergoing conversion to MK6c to supplement the Sea King Helicopter Commando Mk4 fleet and seven are awaiting disposal.
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what legal advice has been given (a) in each environmental impact assessment prepared in relation to the Sonar 2087 project and (b) in the independent legal review conducted into the global environmental impact assessment prepared in relation to the Sonar 2087 project; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Moonie: The global Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) conducted in 2000 was the first EIA of Sonar 2087. It was carried out as part of the Assessment Phase of that project. It took account of legal advice provided by a lawyer who is an internationally recognised authority on the Law of the Sea. We also commissioned an independent review of the EIA, the legal aspects of which were conducted by a second distinguished independent legal authority. Both processes concluded that the intended operation of S2087 will comply with the relevant legislation at national, European and international level.
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To date, as part of the demonstration work, a single sea trial of S2087 using prototype equipment has taken place in the Bay of Biscay. The EIA for this trial recommended procedures specific to the area and concluded that these would meet the duties and obligations highlighted in the applicable environmental laws and policies.
Dr. Moonie: The cost of strategic sealift varies according to the operational, overseas maintenance and exercise cornmitments of the Ministry of Defence. In the last full financial year 200102, the quarterly costs were approximately: £5.5 million, £10.8 million, £11.6 million and £6.2 million.
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what services have been provided under the strategic sealift (Ro-Ro) programme; what compensation arrangements exist for breaches in the PFI contract; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Moonie: The purpose of the strategic sealift programme is to provide the Ministry of Defence with roll-on roll-off (Ro-Ro) ferries for the transportation of military equipment. The PFI contract is with AWSR Shipping Ltd. The first ship, M.V. Hurst Point, has been delivered to AWSR and came into use in August.
In the event of a breach, the PFI contract provides for MOD to be compensated by way of reduced payments or liquidated damages. Were there to be fundamental default, other arrangements would apply up to and including contract termination.
Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what thermobaric weapons the British Army uses; what assessment has been made of their capability; and if he will make a statement on the extension of the technology. 
Dr. Moonie: There are no thermobaric weapons in service with the British Army and we have no plans to procure any. However, in view of the threat such weapons pose to our own forces (particularly when fighting in built-up areas or in caves), we are examining with industry the scope for technological advances in the area of enhanced blast explosives.
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An Anti Structures Munition programme, based on enhanced blast explosives technology, has been established, which seeks to offer a precision capability designed to minimise casualties, and will be fully in accordance with our obligations under international humanitarian law. Such a weapon is consistent with the conclusions reached in the SDR New Chapter White Paper, which called for increased emphasis on the need for precision in the face of force.
Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence is undertaking the largest programme of new warship building for many years. This programme will create or secure several thousand jobs in United Kingdom shipyards and ancillary industries throughout the country. The MOD recognises the considerable challenge for UK shipbuilders to maintain capacity and develop the skills required for the future warship building programme, against the background of a short term dip in the volume of work and an ageing workforce. The MOD will continue to work closely with the industry but it is primarily for the shipbuilders themselves to manage any short term workload gap. The MOD order book alone cannot be expected to sustain the industry.
Competition remains the bedrock of the MOD's procurement policy and has been the keystone of our strategy for warship procurement. The present competition for the future aircraft carrier is an example of this. Maintaining acompetitive environment should also be helped by the decision to share work on the Type 45 destroyer between BAE Systems Marine and Vosper Thorny croft, which has the advantage of keeping both shipbuilders involved in the Type 45 programme and potentially available to compete for future MOD and export programmes.
The MOD, together with industry, will continue to review ways of making UK warship building more competitive and innovative, with the aim of enabling the shipbuilders to widen their customer base and identify other opportunities, for warship export orders in particular.
HMS Illustrious is in Rosyth undertaking a refit which is due to complete in early 2005.
HMS Invincible is in Rosyth undertaking a refit which is due to complete in late spring 2003.
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