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Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what future roles are planned for the 12 Royal Navy Merlin helicopters not included in the scheduled Lockheed Martin upgrade programme; and what the scheduled out-of-service dates are for these helicopters. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 17 July 2006]: There are 12 Royal Navy Merlin Mkl helicopters not currently included in the Lockheed Martin upgrade programme (known as the Merlin Capability Sustainment Programme). A decision is currently expected to be made in late 2008 as to whether to add 8 of these 12 to the programme. Should a decision be taken not to add these aircraft to the programme they would remain in the RN Merlin fleet and a decision would be taken on their out-of-service date around 2015. Inclusion in the programme would extend their out-of-service date to 2029.
There are no plans to add the other four RN Merlin Mkl helicopters to the Merlin Capability Sustainment Programme. These are currently used as trials aircraft either based at Agusta Westland Ltd. at Yeovil, Somerset or at RNAS Culdrose. A decision on the out-of-service date of these four aircraft is also expected to be taken around 2015.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) RG-31 vehicles, (b) mine-protected vehicles and (c) Cougar vehicles, and variants thereof, are in service; and where they are based. 
Mr. Ingram: There are no RG-31 vehicles currently in service with UK forces. There are eight of the current Mine Protected Vehicle in service, which is based on an early version of the Force Protection Inc. Cougar, including a number in Afghanistan.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of whether the improvised explosive device attack at Haditha, Iraq in
2006, on the amphibious assault vehicle operated by the US Marine Corps has implications for (a) the design of British armoured personnel carriers and (b) other British Army force protection measures. 
Mr. Ingram: We have established links with coalition partners in Iraq to exchange details of terrorist incidents, successful or otherwise, in order to identify lessons for tactics, platform design and capability development. We do not comment publicly on specific incidents or conclusions for reasons of operational security.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps have been taken since September 2004 to enhance the provision of electronic counter measures for military vehicles operating out-of-base in Iraq or Afghanistan. 
Des Browne: The threat from Improvised Explosives Devices is constantly evolving and responding to it is one of our highest priorities. Over the past two years we have spent £120 million on protection for ground forces in Iraq, including on electronic counter measures. In addition, the British Army constantly reviews its training, tactics and procedures to minimise the risks to which our troops are exposed. It would not be appropriate to comment on the details as disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the effectiveness and security of the armed forces.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps have been taken since September 2004 to enhance ballistic protection to side doors, footwells and forward bulkheads of Snatch vehicles deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many non-combat army deaths there have been in the British armed forces in each year since 1997; how many were firearms-related in each year; and if he will make a statement. 
|Deaths in the regular armed forces (Army only): showing non-combat and firearms-related deaths, 1997-2005|
|Non-combat injury related deaths||of which: Non-combat firearms related deaths|
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what expenditure his Department has (a) incurred and (b) approved in respect of the upgrading or replacement of the UK's nuclear deterrent; and if he will make a statement. 
Des Browne [holding answer 12 July 2006]: It is not practicable, except at disproportionate cost, to assess historic expenditure on upgrading or replacing the UK's nuclear deterrent since its inception in the 1950s.
We routinely undertake work to maintain the capability of our existing nuclear deterrent system over its current planned design life. The cost of this work is included within the overall running costs of the Trident system, which have varied between three and 4.5 per cent. of the defence budget since it came into service, up to and including 2005-06.
In terms of expenditure in support of the possible retention by the UK of a nuclear deterrent capability beyond the planned life of the current system, I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable) on 22 May 2006, Official Report, column 1322W. In addition to the expenditure referred to in that answer, we have previously spent a total of around £9 million.
Des Browne: There is no programme to develop a new United Kingdom nuclear warhead. As was stated in the 1998 Strategic Defence Review, we retain a minimum capability to design and manufacture a new warhead, should one be required. It is not possible precisely to distinguish between expenditure to support retention of that capability and that required to support the current warhead.
Mr. Ingram: Location statistics may be compiled based on posted location or deployed location. Posted location is where an individual is permanently based. Deployed location is where an individual is physically located at a particular point in time and is typically used for short tours of duty.
The numbers of personnel posted to each location abroad are shown in Tri Service Publication 6, Global Location of UK Regular Forces (TSP 6). Copies of
TSP 6 are held in the House of Commons Library and are also available at www.dasa.mod.uk.
Figures for the number of Regular and Reserve Service personnel deployed on operations are shown in the following tables, as is the percentage of deployed personnel against the total UK Regular and Reserve Force.
|Number and percentage of UK Regular Forces( 1) deployed at 1 May 2006|
|All Services||Naval Service||Army||RAF|
|(1) Figures are for trained UK Regular Forces, and therefore exclude Gurkhas, Full-Time Reserve Service personnel, the Home Service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment, mobilised reservists and Naval Activated Reservists. (2 )Denotes provisional. Naval Service trained and untrained split, and Army Officer figures are provisional pending investigation. Due to the introduction of a new Personnel Administration System for RAF, all RAF data from 1 April 2006 are provisional and subject to review. (3) Figures for deployment are shown at the 2 May 2006. Note: Data are rounded to the nearest 10 to prevent disclosure of sensitive information. Percentages are calculated from unrounded figures.|
Source: DASA (Tri-Service).
|Number and percentage of trained UK Reserve Forces mobilised at 1 May 2006|
|All Services||Naval Service||Army||RAF|
|(1) Reserve strength figures are at 1 April 2006. (2) Figures exclude full-time Reserve Service personnel. (3 )Naval Service excludes University RN units. Army excludes non-regular permanent staff, Officer Training Corps and full-time Reserve Service. RAF excludes University Air Squadrons. (4 )It is not possible to identify whether Volunteer Reserves are trained, hence figures show total Volunteer Reserve. (5 )It is not possible to identify from central sources which reserves are mobilised overseas. Consequently figures show all mobilised reservists, irrespective of location, including those on pre-deployment training and post-operational leave. (6 )Percentage of total Reserve strength. (7 )Percentage of Regular Reserve strength. |
|(8 )Percentage of Volunteer Reserve strength. (9 )Denotes zero or a percentage rounded to zero.|
Note: Data are rounded to the nearest 10 to prevent disclosure of sensitive information. Percentages are calculated from unrounded figures. Source: DASA (Tri-Service).
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many premature voluntary release exits there were from the (a) Army, (b) Navy, (c) Royal Marines and (d) Royal Air Force in each year since 1997. 
|Naval service voluntary outflow from trained strength to civil life|
|Financial year||Royal Navy||Royal Marines|
|(1) For all naval service VO applications received on or after 1 June 2000, the maximum time period between date of application and exit was reduced from 18 months to 12. This effectively compressed 18 months of exits into the financial year 2001-02. Notes: 1. The term premature voluntary release (PVR) has been changed to voluntary outflow (VO) although the methodology remains the same. 2. VO is defined as all applications and exits from trained personnel which are generated by the individual before their time expiry. 3. Figures show all trained voluntary outflow from the naval service including recalled reservists. 4. Figures have been rounded to nearest 10. When rounding to the nearest 10, numbers ending in 5 have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias. Source: DASA (Tri-Service)|
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