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6 Feb 2006 : Column 830W—continued


Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the extra costs of extending the offer of some QinetiQ shares to the public. [43825]

John Reid: Members of the public may already apply for shares, as is the case in any institutional offer. They can do so through a private client stockbroker. Members of the public will also be able to buy shares in QinetiQ once trading has commenced.

The extra costs of a retail offer based on previous Government flotations, were estimated to be between £5 million (administrative costs only) and £23 million (including associated marketing and retail incentives). Based on advice from our financial advisers, it is the Government's view that a retail offer for QinetiQ would not offer value for money for the taxpayer.

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he plans to place restrictions on QinetiQ's acceptance of contracts from foreign governments following its flotation. [44156]

John Reid: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Rutland and Melton (Mr. Duncan) on 24 January 2006, Official Report, column 1982W.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will allow private investors to participate in the flotation of QinetiQ. [46897]

John Reid: Yes. As is the case in any institutional offer, members of the public may apply for shares through a private client stockbroker, although there will be no allocation of shares reserved for that purpose. Members of the public will also be able to buy shares in QinetiQ once trading has commenced.
6 Feb 2006 : Column 831W

RAF C130 Aircraft

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) highest and (b) lowest monitored serviceability readiness rates for RAF C130 aircraft of each type have been in the last three years. [45144]

Mr. Ingram: The term 'Serviceability readiness rate' is not a term used by the RAF. The following table shows, in each calendar year 1 , the highest and lowest monthly numbers of RAF C130 aircraft fit for purpose together with total fleet numbers 2 . Aircraft are deemed fit for
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purpose if they are available for tasking within a 24 hour period. Aircraft are not available for tasking if they are undergoing scheduled maintenance, modification programmes or any other unforeseen rectification work that can arise on a day to day basis. The figures do not reflect the fact that an aircraft assessed as not fit for purpose may be returned to the front line at very short notice to meet the operational need.

2 Total fleet numbers are those aircraft that are planned to be in service with the RAF at the end of FY 2003/04, 2004/05 and 2005/06 respectively.
Fit for purpose aircraft numbers

Hercules C-130K128138118
Total Fleet262625
Hercules C130J141115111611
Total Fleet252525

Regulatory Reform Orders

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many regulatory reform orders his Department has laid before Parliament in each of the last five calendar years. [46804]

Mr. Touhig: None.

Rest and Relaxation

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will consider changing the start and finish dates of the rest and relaxation periods of troops from the date on which they leave and arrive in theatre to the date that they arrive in and leave the United Kingdom. [49120]

Mr. Ingram: Rest and Recuperation (R and R) provides service personnel, on mentally and challenging deployments, a respite from a stressful operational environment in order to sustain their operational effectiveness. R and R should not, therefore, be considered as compensation for separation from family and friends. Post Operational Leave (POL) exists to meet this requirement (the entitlement to POL does begin on the day that service personnel leave their permanent duty station). Depending on the exigencies of service, the operational chain of command will authorise the time, location and duration of any period of R and R, basing their decisions on published guidelines. We have recently carried out a review of all leave and absence types in the light of the advent of the new tri-service joint personnel administration (JPA) system, which will roll out on a single-service basis throughout 2006. It was not considered appropriate for the qualifying period of deployment for R and R to begin before personnel arrive in theatre.

Royal Air Force

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) pilots, (b) fighter aircraft, (c) transport aircraft and (d) helicopters are (i) available to and (ii) deployable by the Royal Air Force; and what the equivalent numbers were in 2000. [42629]

Mr. Ingram: Table A gives the fast jet, transport and rotary aircraft operating Fleets available to the RAF for the purposes of deployment, training and exercises in 2005 and 2000. The figures include aircraft piloted by Royal Navy personnel as part of Joint Force Harrier, which for resource purposes falls within the RAF. The figures exclude rotary aircraft piloted by RAF personnel, but which are part of Joint Helicopter Command, which for resource purposes fall outside the RAF.

The figures do not include aircraft in the sustainment Fleet, which comprises aircraft necessary to sustain the operating fleet to the out-of-service date of the aircraft type and aircraft in deep maintenance.
Table A: In-service

Aircraft type20002005
Fast Jet328283

Although all of the aircraft in the operating fleet are potentially 'deployable', Table B gives the maximum number of 'force elements' which would have been deployed to meet the most demanding scenarios (short of full scale war) against which we planned in 2000 and 2005. A force element represents a fully capable aircraft available for immediate operational tasking. The actual number of aircraft that would be deployed at any one time would, however, be greater than the figures in Table B in order to provide a margin to take into account reliability and serviceability requirements and operational factors.
Table B: Deployable force elements

Aircraft type20002005
Fast Jet10780

The reduction in the number of fast jet force elements in Table B is due to the reassessment of potential scenarios and tasking which was set out in The
6 Feb 2006 : Column 833W
Command Paper Delivering Security in a Changing World: Future Capabilities", published in July 2004. This paper set out the changes necessary to both structure and capabilities to ensure that our armed forces are best placed to meet the principal security challenges of the future: international terrorism, the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, and weak and failing states.

On 1 December 2005 there were 2,130 trained pilots in the RAF. On 1 December 2000 there were 2,180 trained pilots. Subject to their achieving the required medical standards all RAF personnel are potentially deployable.

Royal Ordnance Chorley

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department revalidated outsourced components previously provided by Royal Ordnance Chorley. [43616]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 18 January 2006]: Yes.

Service Widows/Widowers

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what pension the (a) widow and (b) widower of a former member of HM armed service personnel is entitled to if they did not (i) work or (ii) pay national insurance contributions. [47983]

Mr. Touhig: I assume that the hon. Member is referring to pension entitlements of the widow or widower in their own right, rather than in relation to the spouse's service in the armed forces. The widow or widower of a former member of the armed forces who has not worked or paid national insurance contributions is entitled to exactly the same pension benefits as a widow or widower with no armed forces connection. The benefits are based on the late spouse's national insurance contribution record.

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