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27 Feb 2006 : Column 5W—continued

Aircraft Landing Rights

Peter Law: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what requirement there is on operators of foreign registered aircraft to indicate to United Kingdom authorities the purpose of the flight for an aircraft seeking landing rights at a UK military airport. [36051]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 8 December 2005]: There is no requirement for the operator of an aircraft seeking landing rights at a UK military airport to indicate the purposes of the flight.

Armed Forces Personnel (Health Assessment)

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment (a) the Army, (b) the Royal Navy and (c) the Royal Air Force make of the mental health of personnel prior to deployment; and how such assessments are made. [52766]

Mr. Touhig: Personnel known to be suffering from an existing mental health condition are assessed on a case-by-case basis and medically downgraded if necessary. This assessment is made with input from appropriate health professionals, including a Consultant Psychiatrist where necessary. Even those personnel who have been medically downgraded may be fit for deployment on some operations. An assessment of such personnel will be undertaken prior to any decision to deploy them. In making a decision as to the deployability of Service personnel already known to be suffering from a mental health condition, all relevant factors will be taken into account including the severity of the symptoms, the location and duration of the deployment and the nature of the duties to be carried out. Personnel who have not been medically downgraded are, by definition, fit for operational deployment.

No specific, formal mental health assessment of personnel is undertaken prior to deployment. However, line managers and commanding officers will routinely monitor their Servicemen and women looking for
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indications of a mental health condition and whether they would therefore need to be referred for medical opinion.

Personnel receive briefings before they are deployed to prepare them for dealing with potentially stressful operational situations. Once in theatre, they have access to trained mental health staff, and on their return from theatre they receive a post-deployment briefing which includes leaflets and a presentation covering stress reactions.

Armoured Vehicles

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment his Department has made of the requirement for the (a) Casspir and (b) South African manufactured Buffalo armoured vehicles for use in Afghanistan and Iraq. [54421]

Mr. Ingram: We assess that neither the Casspir, manufactured by BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa—OMC, nor the Buffel, manufactured by the Armaments Corporation of South Africa, meet our requirements for use in Afghanistan or Iraq.


Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence by what total number of soldiers the British Army was under establishment in each year since 1997. [51480]

Mr. Touhig: The number of Trained Regular Army and FTRS (Full Time Reserve Service) Soldiers compared to trained requirement in the British Army in each year since 1997 is shown in the following tables:
Soldiers1 April 19971 April 19981 April 19991 April 20001 April 2001
Trained Requirement90,68089,98089,57089,90090,400
UK Regulars85,03084,74083,61083,72083,490

Soldiers1 April 20021 April 20031 April 20041 April 20051 January 2006
Trained Requirement90,40089,93089,73087,03085,410
UK Regulars83,14084,44085,94084,86083,520

n/a=Not applicable. FTRS were created under the Reserve Forces Act 1998, and none existed before late 1997, hence figures prior to April 1998 do not include FTRS.
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. Totals are rounded separately and therefore may not equal the sum of their parts.
2. Figures exclude Trained Officers, Trained Gurkhas, Home Service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment and mobilised reservists.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) establishment and (b) strength was of the (i) Grenadier Guards, (ii) Coldstream Guards, (iii) Scots Guards, (iv) Irish Guards, (v) Welsh Guards, (vi) Royal Scots, (vii) Royal Highland Fusiliers, (viii) King's Own Scottish Borderers, (ix) Black Watch, (x) Highlanders, (xi) Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, (xii) Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, (xiii) Royal Regiment of
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Fusiliers, (xiv) Royal Anglian Regiment, (xv) King's Own Royal Border Regiment, (xvi) King's Regiment, (xvii) Prince of Wales's Own Regiment, (xviii) Green Howards, (xix) Queen's Lancashire Regiment, (xx) Duke of Wellington's Regiment, (xxi) Devonshire and Dorset Regiment, (xxii) Cheshire Regiment, (xxiii) Royal Welch Fusiliers, (xxiv) Royal Regiment of Wales, (xxv) Royal Gloucester, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment, (xxvi) Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment, (xxvii) Staffordshire Regiment, (xxviii) The Light Infantry Regiment, (xxix) Royal Green Jackets, (xxx) Parachute Regiment and (xxxi) Royal Irish Regiment in (A) 1997 and (B) 2005. [51830]

Mr. Touhig: I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what percentage of British Army personnel were recruited in Commonwealth countries in the latest year for which figures are available. [51479]

Mr. Touhig: Regardless of whether recruits are from the Commonwealth or United Kingdom, the recruitment process for the Regular Army is administered in the UK and therefore the following tables show the intake to the untrained strength of the Regular Army by Nationality:
Regular Army untrained intake for financial year 2004–05

Nationality on IntakeTotalOfficersSoldiers
Commonwealth (Percentage)

Regular Army untrained Intake for the period 1 October 2004 to 30 September 2005

Nationality on IntakeTotalOfficersSoldiers
Commonwealth (Percentage)

1. UK Regular Army includes Nursing services and excludes Full Time Reserve Service personnel, Gurkhas, the Home Service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment and mobilised Reservists.
2. Officer figures include intake from the ranks and re-entrants.
3. The figures are based on the nationality of personnel who joined the untrained strength of the Regular Army.
4. Other includes British (or first nationality is British), Eire and UK Dependency nationalities.
5. Percentages have been calculated as the number of personnel who joined the Army with the nationality recorded as Commonwealth, out of the total number of intakes during each period.
6. The data have been rounded to the nearest 10, numbers ending in '5' have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.

Astute Class Submarines

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the original (a) estimated cost and (b) in-service delivery date was of the first three Astute class submarines; what the latest estimates are; and if he will make a statement. [53655]

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Mr. Ingram: The National Audit Office's Major Project Report for 2005 has reported an expected total cost of £3,492 million against a re-costed approval of £2,578 million. The first of class HMS Astute had originally been expected to enter service in June 2005. HMS Astute is scheduled to be delivered to the MOD by 2009. The second of class, HMS Ambush, will follow in mid 2010, and the third of class, HMS Artful, in 2012.

BAE Systems

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) when (a) officials and (b) Ministers from his Department last met representatives of BAE Systems; and if he will make a statement; [52295]

(2) whether official minutes of the most recent meeting of representatives of his Department with representatives from BAE Systems were made; and if he will make a statement. [52296]

Mr. Ingram: BAE Systems is the Ministry of Defence's largest single supplier and the Department's officials hold numerous meetings with company representatives at various levels on a daily basis. In turns of Defence Ministers, my noble Friend the Minister for Defence Procurement (Lord Drayson) met representatives of BAE Systems on 2 February.

The extent to which written records are made of any meeting involving the Department and representatives from BAE Systems depends on the nature of the discussions in each case.

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