Previous Section Index Home Page

15 Feb 2006 : Column 2098W—continued

RAF Menwith Hill

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the purpose is of the two further radomes planned for RAF Menwith Hill. [50808]

Mr. Ingram: The proposed new radomes at RAF Menwith Hill will house additional antennae that will be used in support of the current mission of the base.

RAF Stafford (Museum)

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to put on open display the museum items stored at RAF Stafford. [50863]

Mr. Touhig: As the RAF museum is a non-departmental public body, the day-to-day running is a matter for the Board of Trustees and the senior management team.

I understand that items held within the RAF museum's reserve collection, at RAF Stafford, are available to members of the public by appointment, as the site is not suitable for general public access. The RAF museum regularly reviews the items kept on display at its two public sites, and suitable items from the reserve collection may be included in the revised displays.
15 Feb 2006 : Column 2099W

Reserve Forces

Linda Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect of the rate of deployment on the rate of recruitment for each of the reserve forces. [50949]

Mr. Touhig [holding answer 13 February 2006]: There is no evidence to date to suggest that the rate of deployment has had any significant effect on the rate of recruitment for each of the reserve forces.

Roadside Bombs

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures are under development to protect British forces from shaped roadside bombs; and when these measures will be introduced. [51297]

Mr. Ingram: We continually adapt our training, tactics and procedures to ensure that our troops are not exposed to unnecessary risks in theatre. Additional measures to counter the evolving threat posed by roadside bombs are developed on an ongoing basis and introduced when they are sufficiently mature. However, information regarding specific measures is operationally sensitive.

Royal Navy

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of Royal Navy service personnel went to sea in (a) 2005, (b) 1995 and (c) 1985. [51438]

Mr. Touhig: The information is not held centrally in the form requested.

Information is however available on RN frontline personnel. These personnel work in posts with operational requirements. These personnel may not necessarily spend all their time at sea.

The data in the following table has been collated for the years 2005 and 1997; there is no data available for 1995 or 1985.

Frontline Royal Navy personnelFrontline Royal Marines personnelTotal frontline personnel

Senior Officers

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) brigadiers and (b) generals were on the active list in the Army in each year since 1997; and what the total strength of the Army was in each year. [50181]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 13 February 2006]: The following table shows the General, Brigadier and total strengths of the Regular Army at the 1 April of each year since 1997, and the latest published data as at 1 December 2005.
15 Feb 2006 : Column 2100W

Regular Army trained and untrained strensths(13)

DateGeneral (14)(15)(16)Brigadier (16)Total strength (16)
December 200560180107,930

(13) Figures are for the Regular Army and therefore exclude full-time reserve service, Gurkhas, the Home Service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment and Mobilised Reservists. It includes trained and untrained personnel.
(14) Includes officers who have held the appointment of chief of general staff and are retained on the active list.
(15) Figures for Generals include Generals, Lieutenant Generals and Major Generals.
(16) Figures rounded to the nearest 10.

The Rank Structure of the UK Regular Forces" is published quarterly as a national statistic in the Defence Analytical Services Agency's Tri-Service Publication 9" (TSP 9). This is available publicly on the internet at:

Service Families (Medical Services)

Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what general medical services are provided for the (a) families and (b) partners of those serving in the armed forces; and if he will make a statement; [51821]

(2) what steps he is taking to provide the (a) families and (b) partners of armed forces personnel at RAF Henlow with general medical services; and if he will make a statement. [51826]

Mr. Touhig: At its overseas bases, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) provides primary health care to all entitled dependants, as well as secondary health care in Cyprus and Gibraltar. In Germany, secondary care is provided by the MOD via contracts with regional German hospitals.

In the UK, the provision of general medical services for families and dependants is the responsibility of the NHS. Depending on the training requirements for Defence medical services staff and on the availability of spare capacity to care for a limited dependant population without compromising the medical centre's primary task, the MOD does provide primary care to dependants at some service medical centre locations.

The medical centre at RAF Henlow does not, however, conduct GP vocational training, nor does it have the spare capacity to provide health care for dependants. General medical services for dependants at RAF Henlow are therefore provided by the NHS. The local RAF welfare support services can provide details of the local NHS practices where dependants can register.

Service Widows/Widowers

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) under what circumstances the (a) widow and (b) widower of a former member of armed forces personnel may claim all or part of his or her spouse's pension; [47979]
15 Feb 2006 : Column 2101W

(2) what pension the (a) widow and (b) widower of a former member of service personnel is entitled to if their partner's death was (i) a result of service in HM armed forces and (ii) not related to service in HM armed forces. [47982]

Mr. Touhig: A widow or widower of a former member of the armed forces is entitled to claim pension benefits if the member dies in retirement with a preserved pension or a pension already in payment. However, where the widow or widower married the member after the member left the armed forces, only the service given on or after 6 April 1978 will count towards their pension.

There are a range of benefits paid on the death of a former member. The level of benefit depends on a number of factors including date and cause of death, rank, salary and number of dependent children. I will arrange for the scheme booklets that cover these issues in more detail to be placed in the House Library. These booklets are available on (with a search on 'pensions').

Space Tracking and Surveillance System

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the space tracking and surveillance system will be operational. [50809]

Mr. Ingram: This is a matter for the US Government which are developing this system for US use.


Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK ports cater for (a) UK nuclear submarines and (b) UK submarines armed with nuclear weapons; and if he will list those where maintenance of (i) UK nuclear submarines and (ii) UK submarines armed with nuclear weapons is carried out. [50262]

Mr. Ingram: Nuclear-powered submarines have two base ports in the UK: HMNB Clyde at Faslane and HMNB Devonport at Plymouth. In addition, nuclear-powered submarines are being built at Barrow-in-Furness. All three ports have facilities for the maintenance of the vessels' nuclear propulsion plants but, once submarines are in service, all such maintenance is carried out at Faslane or Devonport.

Nuclear-powered submarines are permitted to berth at five other locations in the UK (RNAD Coulport, HMNB Portsmouth, Loch Ewe, Loch Goil and Broadford Bay). Work is underway to authorise further UK ports for nuclear powered submarine visits, including Southampton and Portland. Maintenance of the submarines' nuclear propulsion systems is not carried out in any of these five existing berths, nor will it be at the two proposed ones. However, routine maintenance of non-nuclear systems—which is a normal part of maintaining any vessel, including nuclear-powered submarines—can be conducted at any suitable location.

The classification of berths for nuclear powered submarines does not differentiate between those armed with nuclear and/or conventional weapons.
15 Feb 2006 : Column 2102W

Next Section Index Home Page