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10 Dec 2003 : Column 465W—continued

Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft Programme

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the implications are for the UK's acquisition of air tanker aircraft of the US Department of Defense's re-examination of the equivalent programme. [142779]

Mr. Ingram: None.

Hawk Jet Trainer

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress is being made in finalising the contractual arrangements between his Department and BAe Systems in respect of the acquisition of Hawk 128 Advanced Jet Trainers. [141990]

Mr. Ingram: Good progress has been made to date with BAE Systems. A contract for risk reduction activities is expected to be signed before the end of the year. Negotiations towards a final contract for Hawk 128 continue.


Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the C-130K Hercules airframes, giving the out-of-service dates of each. [142604]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 8 December 2003]: Based on current predictions it is expected that the RAFs Hercules C-130K fleet will be retired around the end of this decade. The out of service dates for individual aircraft have yet to be decided.

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Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what work is planned to upgrade the C-130K fleet; whether this will include upgrading of the wings; and what effect such upgrades will have on the out-of-service dates of each aircraft. [142638]

Mr. Ingram: On current plans it is expected that the RAF's Hercules C-130K aircraft will be progressively withdrawn from service from around the end of this decade to be replaced by A400M aircraft. Consequently there is no upgrade programme for the C130K fleet. However, a small number of aircraft have had their capabilities enhanced to meet the demands of recent operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. This did not include upgrading of their wings.


Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on the supply to Israel of (a) weapons and (b) machine parts that can be used to enhance that country's (i) nuclear and (ii) biological weapons capability. [142335]

Mr. MacShane: I have been asked to reply.

As with export licence applications for all other countries, licences for the supply of strategic goods to Israel are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Export Licensing Criteria. The criteria ensure that proper consideration is taken of the risk of the goods being used for either internal repression or external aggression. The assessment includes careful consideration of the possible, as well as the stated, end-use of any equipment supplied.

The Government would not issue an export licence that was in contravention of the criteria.

Marine Navigational Aids PFI

John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) when the public private partnership/private finance initiative project for the provision of MoD marine navigational aids is to be concluded; and what the cost to the Department has been; [142535]

Mr. Ingram: The future provision of Marine Services, which includes work relating to marine navigational aids, is the subject of a PPP/PFI Acquisition programme. These services are currently provided by Serco Denholm, under a Government Owned-Contractor Operated (GOCO) arrangement and by the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service (RMAS). The RMAS are currently responsible for the laying/recovery and annual maintenance of some 205 navigational

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buoys around the coast of the British Isles. Under current plans, the design authority for navigational buoys and the supply of related mooring materials will also be transferred to the successful bidder.

Invitations to Negotiate have been issued to Serco Denholm Ltd and a consortium led by Babcock Naval Services Ltd. The RMAS have also been given the opportunity under the Acquisition programme to compete for a package of work similar in scope to their current portfolio. Announcement of the preferred option is planned in early 2005 with the conclusion of the PPP/PFI programme expected in Autumn 2005.

Maintenance of MOD navigational buoys represents a small part of the future provision of Marine Services programme and it is not possible to identify separately the management costs for this aspect alone.

Discussions took place with the General Lighthouse Authorities (GLAs), Non-Departrnental Public Bodies sponsored by the DfT, in 2001 to determine whether there was scope for the GLAs to take over the maintenance and upkeep of MOD UK navigational buoys. However, it was subsequently decided not to proceed as such an arrangement would provide little benefit to the MOD. No further discussions on this matter have taken place either with public or private sector bodies.

National Defence Industries Council

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the industrial members of the National Defence Industries Council; what the criteria are for their appointment; and if he will make a statement. [141843]

Mr. Ingram: The industry members of the National Defence Industries Council (NDIC) currently are:

The NDIC is the senior body that provides a focus for regular consultation between the Ministry of Defence and industry on questions of defence supply and procurement of mutual concern, and defines areas for joint study.

Appointment to the NDIC is at the discretion of the Secretary of State. The industry membership comprises the senior representatives of the four main trade associations, senior industrialists, representatives of the service sector and representatives of small and medium-sized enterprises, who are invited on an individual basis.

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Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether BAE Systems sought the advice of the (a) Ministry of Defence and (b) the Defence Export Services Organisation on whether commissions for Shaik Hamad bin Jassin bin Jaber al-Thari were legitimate in connection with a defence equipment package for Qatar signed in 1996. [142412]

Mr. Ingram: No evidence has been found in available records of advice being sought from the Ministry of Defence (including the Defence Export Services Organisation) on the question of commission payments in connection with a defence equipment package for Qatar signed in 1996.


Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the armed forces recruitment budget was spent in (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [142676]

Mr. Caplin: The total recruiting budget for each Service in each year since 1997–98 was as follows:

£ million


The proportion of the recruiting budget spent by country was:


Northern Ireland222222
Wales223o J33
Northern Ireland311111

The remainder of the budget was taken up by National recruiting campaigns and Central costs. The Army's recruiting budget is managed centrally and cannot be broken down in the format requested.

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