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12 Dec 2002 : Column 420W—continued

Defensive Decoy System

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on (a) the defensive decoy system and (b) the active decoy round. [86298]

Dr. Moonie: The active decoy round forms part of the defensive decoy system, more usually known as the active off board decoy system. The other main element is the ship control system. The purpose of the decoy system is to provide improved defence against anti-ship missiles. It is planned to enter operational service in all major Royal Navy warships from early 2004.

Executive Agencies (Scotland)

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people are employed by DERA; how many are based in Scotland; and if he will make a statement. [86390]

Dr. Moonie: DERA was disestablished on 1 July 2001, when two new organisations, QinetiQ and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), were created.

QinetiQ is a plc, and therefore all operational inquiries should be addressed to the chief executive. Dstl remains a part of the Ministry of Defence. Dstl currently employs approximately 3,100 staff, of whom 52 are based in Scotland.

Industrial Policy

Patrick Mercer : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the costs were of implementing the Ministry of Defence's industrial policy in the last 12 months. [85656]

Dr. Moonie: The Government's new defence industrial policy published on 14 October is not expected to incur any additional administrative costs to implement, nor do we envisage that it will entail additional costs to the equipment programme. The policy aims to enhance the competitiveness of United Kingdom industry and will therefore increase the value for money delivered to the taxpayer. A copy of the policy is in the Library of the House.

Lockheed Martin F35s

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many of the short take off and vertical landing versions of the new Lockheed Martin F35s have been ordered by the Ministry of Defence; and what he expects the costs to be of (a) the individual aircraft and (b) the cost of the entire procurement project; [85455]

Dr. Moonie: The current System Development and Demonstration Phase of the Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme began in October 2001. We announced on 30 September this year that the Short Take-Off/Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant of the JSF

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had been selected to meet our Future Joint Combat Aircraft (FJCA) requirement. The current planned United Kingdom in-service date is 2012.

In order to align with the US acquisition cycle, we do not expect to place orders for JSF aircraft before 2006. The average UK unit production cost of the STOVL variant of JSF is estimated to be around $50 million US.

The procurement cost for the FJCA programme, including certain spares and training facilities, is forecast to be up to #10 billion-working on a current planning assumption of 150 aircraft required. There is no reason to believe that the JCA programme will not remain within budget.

Medical Conditions

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what standard manuals of diagnostics and directories of medical conditions he relies in instances where his discretion is exercised on the basis of a medical opinion. [80592]

Dr. Moonie: It would be inappropriate for Ministers to intervene in clinical matters. Armed forces medical personnel and civilian medical practitioners employed by the Ministry of Defence consult numerous medical textbooks and other publications accepted by the medical and scientific community.

Military Training Sites

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will list the military training sites in the UK where live ammunition has been used since 1972 which have been accessible to the public on non-training days; [86828]

Dr. Moonie: I will write to my hon. Friend and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Missile Defence

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects his Department's programmes work on theatre missile defence will be published. [84537]

Mr. Hoon [holding answer 2 December 2002]: I presume that the hon. Member is referring to the Technology Readiness and Risk Assessment Programme, an unclassified summary of which was released earlier this year and a copy placed in the Library of the House as confirmed in my answer to the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Prosser) on 26 February 2002, Official Report, column 1134W. Further work on the technical and other issues associated with theatre missile defence is continuing.

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Mr. Jack Palfrey Wakefield (Gratuity Payment)

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what records his Department maintains of individuals receiving a gratuity in respect of invalidity, on leaving HM armed forces, from 1941 to the present; and whether he has a record of a gratuity in respect of invalidity being paid to Mr. Jack Palfrey Wakefield, date of birth 24 September 1916, army serial number 1895475, formerly resident in Crewe. [85667]

Dr. Moonie: For members of the armed forces who have been invalided from service, records relating to consideration of entitlement to war pensions have been held on these cases by the Veterans Agency and its predecessors since prior to 1941. No war pensions files were destroyed until 1989 when a retention and destruction exercise was carried out. The criteria were that files were to be destroyed where no action had been taken on the case for more than 30 years, no pension was in payment and the claimant was over the age of 80.

Under the Armed Forces Pension Scheme, records containing details of invaliding gratuities paid are held by all three services for personnel who left between 1941 and the present day. How long these records are retained for depends on when the person left the armed forces. In general, the following applies:

Left service between 1941–72:

Where the pensioner dies and there is no widow/er or other dependant, the records would be destroyed after seven years for Royal Navy (RN) and Army personnel and after three years for RAF personnel. If not informed of this, records would be kept for 100 years from the date of the service member's birth for all three services. If there were a surviving widow/er, records would be destroyed some two to three years after the death of the spouse of RN and RAF personnel and seven years after the death of the spouse of Army personnel.

Left service between 1973–present:

Across all three services, records are retained for 100 years from the date of the service person's birth.

Records are held relating to both Mr. Wakefield's entitlement to war disablement pension and to his armed forces pension. However, information from these records cannot be supplied as disclosure of personal information is prohibited under Schedule 2 of the Data Protection Act 1998.

Nuclear Tests (South Pacific)

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures he has put in place for tracing and monitoring armed forces personnel who served between 1950 and 1965 and were involved in nuclear tests in the South Pacific during this period; how many of these servicemen have been traced; what proportion this represents; and if he will make a statement. [86308]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 10 December 2002]: As is well known, the National Radiological Protection Board conducted two studies, reported in 1988 and 1993, which assessed incidences of cancers and mortality rates in test participants and a closely matched control group. The results of the third study are expected in 2003. At the outset, some 22,000 personnel were identified as participants from service and other records

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representing about 85 per cent. of those believed to have participated in the United Kingdom nuclear testing programme.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment his Department has made since 1972 concerning the risk of cancer among the (a) military personnel and (b) civilian population surrounding the British nuclear testing in the Monte Bello Islands in the 1950s; and if he will make a statement. [86877]

Dr. Moonie: Two epidemiological studies of participants of the British nuclear test programme as a whole have been carried out on the Ministry of Defence's behalf by the National Radiological Protection Board. The results of these studies were published in 1988 and 1993. The studies showed that, as a group, participation in the tests has not had a detectable effect on the expectation of life, or on the risk of developing cancer or other fatal diseases by those who took part. No separate assessment has been made of those service personnel who took part in the tests on the Monte Bello Islands.

The Monte Bello Islands were uninhabited and had no civilian population. In 1983 the Australian Ionising Radiation Advisory Council reassessed levels of radiation which had reached the Australian mainland from the tests on the Monte Bello Islands. It was concluded that exposure to radiation by the civilian population had been insignificant.

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