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Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the implications for the operational capabilities of the joint combat aircraft of United States refusal to include Rolls-Royce engines in its design. 
Mr. Ingram: The United Kingdom has supported the continuation of F136 as a competitive alternative to the Fl35 and as a through life risk reduction measure for the JSF programme. However, JSF is being designed so that the F135, Pratt and Whitney and F136, General Electric/Rolls-Royce engines would have been fully interchangeable, so the UK's requirements for JSF will continue to be met by the F135 alone if the United States decides to stop development of the F136 due to budget pressures. Our preference, however, was for the dual engine approach and strong representation was made to the US administration supporting this.
Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for future upgrades to UK missile systems; and what plans he has to develop a strategy to incorporate emerging technologies into existing weapons systems. 
Mr. Ingram: A number of upgrades to missile systems are planned to meet emerging requirements. These include incremental technology insertion programmes to upgrade the RAF's Storm Shadow missiles, and the Royal Navy's and Seawolf missiles.
Mr. Ingram: As part of the Defence Industrial Strategy, the Ministry of Defence is working with industry and universities to identify sources of innovation and to identify where technologies of vital strategic importance are located. We recognise that we must work together more effectively with industry (including small and medium-sized enterprises) and universities, to stimulate innovation and exploit research and technology to meet defence needs. Specifically, we are developing a better understanding of the innovation process and mapping out the technology trees for major capabilities, systems and platforms.
MOD has placed at least an estimated 10 per cent. by value of its extramural research and development contracts with SMEs in recent years as laid out in the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) performance figures for 2003-04 and 2004-05 a copy of which is in the Library of the House. This exceeds the SBRI target for Government Departments of at least 2.5 per cent.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the standing naval tasks carried out by the Royal Navy in each year since 1997 and those scheduled for discontinuation. 
Mr. Ingram: The Royal Navy conducts a variety of naval tasks, either as standing strategic, home or overseas commitments, or as enduring contingent operations overseas. Except where stated, the tasks listed below have been maintained from 1997:
Malcolm Wicks: The DTI commissioned two reports in 2004 in relation to hydrogen: Hydrogen Energy Support in the UK" and A Strategic Framework for Hydrogen Energy Activity in the UK". These reports have been published on the Department's website. The second report identified six potential hydrogen energy chains for the use of hydrogen as a transport fuel. One route is to produce hydrogen biomass (with optional carbon capture and storage).
On 15 June 2005, I announced the Government's response to the second report A Strategic Framework for Hydrogen Energy Activity in the UK" which included a funding package of £15 million over four years for a UK wide hydrogen and fuel cell demonstration programme. The details of the demonstration scheme is currently being developed, and requires EC State Aid approval.
1. The SUPERGEN biological fuel cell consortium. This was announced in December 2005. This is a £2 million investment over four-year period. This is a consortium of teams from six universities aims to achieve major advances in a technology that potentially produces electricity directly from sustainable biological materials and air, in devices known as biological fuel cells. The Consortium programme involves a combination of expertise drawn from the research areas of microbiology, enzymology, electrochemistry, materials science and computational modelling. A Biofuel Cells Industrial Club" is to be formed, with industrial partners active in water management, porous materials, microbiology, biological catalysis and fuel cell technology.
2. SUPERGEN UK Sustainable Hydrogen Energy (UKSHEC): part of its remit is to advance the scientific understanding of the biological generation of sustainable hydrogen. UKSHEC was established in 2003 and will continue until 2007.
(i) The project Unmixed reforming of vegetable oil for hydrogen production" investigated the viability of vegetable oil as the fuel for a novel steam reforming process. This project was completed in December 2004.
(ii) The project Sustainable biohydrogen production" investigated optimising hydrogen yields from biomass by continuous fermentative processes operating on mixed microflora on any substrate. This project was completed in October 2004.
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