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1 Mar 2005 : Column 1135W—continued

Aircraft Carriers

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the (a) timescale for, (b) size of, (c) capability of, (d) contracts for, (e) sub-contracts for and (f) cost of the new aircraft carriers. [215504]

Mr. Ingram: Our target acquisition cost for the Future Carrier (CVF) programme is around £3 billion, with target in service dates of 2012 and 2015. The project is in its Assessment Phase. We have not so far sought to fix the dimensions of the ships, but are focusing instead on the future capability required. This was outlined in the July 2004 Defence White Paper supplement Delivering Security in a Changing World: Future Capabilities". As is normal for a project at this stage, the design will continue to evolve. The timescale, cost and performance parameters will be set following the main investment decision.

We believe that the Alliance approach represents the best prospect for delivering the future carriers to time and cost. Discussions are ongoing on the contracting arrangements for the Demonstration and Manufacture phase of the project.

Army Officers

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) established and (b) current trained strength of officers in the British Army is, broken down by arm. [217035]

Mr. Caplin: The information in the following table is the strength and establishment figures for Trained UK Regular Army Officers as at 1 January 2005:
Household Cavalry/Royal Armoured Corps800860
Royal Regiment of Artillery1,0201,060
Corps of Royal Engineers1,2901,200
Royal Corps of Signals9601,000
Army Air Corps510480
Royal Army Chaplain's Department160130
The Royal Logistic Corps1,6701,640
Royal Army Medical Corps980860
Corps of Royal Electrical And Mechanical Engineers800850
Adjutant General's Corps (Staff And Personnel Support Branch)230210
Adjutant General's Corps (Provost Branch)480470
Adjutant General's Corps (Educational and Training Services Branch)330330
Adjutant General's Corps (Army Legal Services Branch)12090
Royal Army Veterinary Corps2020
Small Arms School Corps3030
Royal Army Dental Corps170150
Intelligence Corps330280
Army Physical Training Corps5040
Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps400260
Corps of Army Music3040

1. UK Regular Army includes nursing services and excludes Full Time Reserve Service personnel, Gurkhas, the Home Service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment, mobilised reservists.
2. Denotes zero or rounded to zero.
3. All figures have been rounded to the nearest 10. Due to the rounding methods used, figures may not always equal the sum of the parts. While rounding to the nearest 10, numbers ending in 5" have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.

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Canberra PR9

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the Canberra PR9 to be withdrawn from service; what will replace the capability; and when. [218129]

Mr. Ingram: We currently expect the Canberra PR9 to be withdrawn from service in 2006. We will continue to provide Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capabilities through a mix of in-service systems and new equipment programmes that will deliver enhanced capability incrementally.

Chief of the Defence Staff

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what methodology is used to calculate the Chief of the Defence Staff's performance-related pay. [218675]

Mr. Ingram: Following a recommendation from the Senior Salaries Pay Review Body, an incremental pay scale has been introduced for the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS). Each year, the Permanent Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Defence, in conjunction with the independent member of the Department's Remuneration Committee, will make recommendations to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on whether CDS should move up the incremental pay scale. This recommendation will take account of a short narrative, prepared by the Secretary of State, setting out how CDS has contributed to delivering the Government's objectives for defence over the past year.

Chinook Crash

Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date flight lieutenants Jonathan Tapper and Richard Cook were given self-authorisation status for VIP flights, prior to the crash of Chinook ZD576 on 2nd June 1994. [217789]

Mr. Ingram: Flight Lieutenants J. Tapper and R. Cook were granted self-authorisation for all Chinook flights, other than displays and role demonstrations, on 23 May 1994.
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Civil Contingency Reaction Forces

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many personnel are employed as part of the Civil Contingency Reaction Forces; [217811]

(2) how many personnel are employed as part of the Civil Contingency Reaction Forces in a state of permanent readiness; [217810]

(3) how many specific Civil Contingency Reaction Force (CCRF) training days have taken place in each year since the creation of CCRF; how many people were involved in each event; and where each such training day was held; [217734]

(4) how many of the reservists who make up the operational capability of Civil Contingency Reaction Forces are on active duty overseas. [217733]

Mr. Ingram: The 14 Civil Contingency Reaction Forces (CCRFs) are based on the 14 TA infantry battalions spread across the country and, should the need arise, would be manned by members of the Volunteer Reserve Forces, albeit mainly the Territorial Army. A list of qualified volunteers up to a maximum of 500 per CCRF is maintained by each CCRF Headquarters in order that they can respond at short notice to a crisis. But CCRF volunteers are not permanently employed by the armed forces, nor are they held at permanent readiness.

It is, however, a fundamental principle that volunteers for the CCRFs agree to be mobilised at relatively short notice. We expect to be able to deploy a CCRF within 24 hours should the need arise, although this may be tempered by the need for additional training depending upon the nature of the crisis.

The list of CCRF volunteers is dynamic and reflects the availability of individuals as their personal circumstances change. When an individual becomes unavailable, whether through operational deployment or any other change in circumstances, they cease to be a member of the CCRF and another volunteer is brought forward to replace them. In this way the CCRF capability is maintained.

Volunteers receive five days training per year, in addition to their normal reservist training. Details of individual training activities are not held centrally, but in general the additional days are used to ensure familiarisation and integration with the local authorities and the emergency services and to ensure that the procedures for mobilisation are well practised.

It should be borne in mind that the CCRFs are neither an automatic nor the only option to respond to a request from the civil authorities for military assistance. Regional commanders will identify the best choice from all available units, regular or reserve, depending on the nature and urgency of the request.

Courts Martial

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will re-examine the operation of courts martial; and if he will make a statement. [218425]

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Mr. Caplin: The maintenance of a system of military law is essential for the operational effectiveness of the armed forces. Courts martial are a vital element of this system. The next armed forces Bill will introduce a number of changes to the operation of courts martial, as part of the modernisation and harmonisation of service law. These are set out in the Ministry of Defence's Memorandum to the Defence Select Committee of 5 October 2004.

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether commanding officers are advised in all cases by military lawyers prior to deciding on the most appropriate disciplinary action to take against soldiers facing (a) murder charges and (b) other serious charges. [218426]

Mr. Caplin: In accordance with Queen's Regulations, Commanding Officers are obliged in all cases to seek legal advice prior to deciding on the most appropriate disciplinary action to take against soldiers facing murder charges and other serious charges.

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