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Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the likelihood of achieving closure of the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft project agreements by 31 December. 
Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence is currently considering the progress made to date with AirTanker in single bidder discussions. We expect to make a decision shortly on whether AirTanker Ltd. should be accorded preferred bidder status for this complex and important PFI competition. We shall of course ensure that the House is kept fully informed of significant developments.
Mr. Hoon: From available records, senior UK military officers visiting Chile briefly met General Pinochet in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army, a position he held between 1990 and 1998, on a limited number of occasions. Two such meetings occurred with the visits in March 1995 of the then Chief of the Naval Staff, and in 1996 of the former Vice Chief of the Defence Staff. In addition, General Pinochet was present at a lunch attended by the then Secretary of State for Defence during his visit to Chile in December 1996. The UK Defence Attaché in Santiago met General Pinochet in the course of routine duties, and other British embassy staff did so at official state and military functions.
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what manoeuvres or operations United Kingdom armed forces have conducted in (a) the Gulf of Guinea and (b) the Bight of Bonny since January 2003. 
Mr. Ingram: No operations have occurred in the Gulf of Guinea (Ghana to Angola) and the Bight of Bonny since 2003. The Atlantic Patrol Vessel (South) regularly transited the region over the period making routine port visits on route:
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average annual operating costs in near cash terms of an (a) armoured infantry battalion, (b) mechanised battalion, (c) air assault battalion and (d) light role battalion regular were in financial years 200203 and 200304. 
The United Kingdom has four military personnel resident in Nigeria. They comprise: the Defence Adviser and his assistant; the Commander of the British Defence Advisory Team in Nigeria; and a Liaison Officer to the military staff in the Secretariat of the Economic Community of West African States.
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To assist those in country, additional UK military officers and civilians visit from time to time. Complete information on the dates of such visits is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the circumstances were of the death of Private William Reyes, service number 5320, at Holdfast camp; what the findings were of the court martial of the solider charged in connection with the fatal shooting; whether a Board of Inquiry was established to look into the circumstances of the death; what the findings were of the civil inquest into the death; and what financial payments have been made to the family of the deceased. 
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether a Black Watch soldier posted away from his battalion following the creation of the Royal Regiment of Scotland will be permitted to wear the Red Hackle. 
Mr. Ingram: It is too early to say what any soldier serving in the new Royal Regiment of Scotland will wear. The Colonel Commandant of the Scottish Division has recently formed a working group to consider future dress matters at which all Battalions, including the Black Watch, will be represented. The recommendations of the working group will be put to the Council of Scottish Colonels for approval in due course.
Mr. Caplin: I refer to the answer given on 16 December 2004, Official Report, column 1259, by my hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Cabinet Office (Mr. Miliband). One special adviser currently has such powers.
I refer to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the then Minister of State for the Cabinet Office (Ruth Kelly) on 14 December 2004, Official Report, column 1004W.
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The contract with Swan Hunter for the delivery of two Landing Ship Dock (Auxiliary) ships to the armed forces was recently amended following difficulties Swan Hunter had in meeting the original programme due to its underestimation of the engineering requirements in the design and construction of the ships. The £84 million revised contract does not offer the company a financial support package but one that offers the best value for money to the taxpayer in the delivery of these ships.
The lead department for policy relating to Government financial support to industry is the Department of Trade and Industry with the responsibility for funding decisions devolved to Regional Development Agencies.
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