|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Des Browne [holding answer 17 July 2006]: I refer the right hon. and learned Member to the written ministerial statement I made on 24 July 2006, Official Report, columns 74-76WS. The helicopter support deployed to Afghanistan meets the operational commanders current requirements.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what publicly advertised (a) financial and (b) other inducements are funded by the Government to residents of Iraq to encourage the supply of information on the operation of insurgents to (i) the armed forces and (ii) British officials in Iraq. 
There are no publicly advertised financial or other inducements for the supply of information to UK armed forces or officials in Iraq. There are, however, two initiatives set up to encourage Iraqis in MND(SE) to telephone in confidence to
report criminal activities (including acts of insurgency and terrorism). These do not advertise the likelihood of any financial reward.
Des Browne: The Iraqi navy plays an important role in protecting the oil facilities vital to Iraqs economic well-being. Recognising this, the UK continues to play a lead role in providing training and support. Specifically, the UK provides a Naval Assistance and Training Team at Umm Qasr Naval Base, officer training at Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth, and seaborne support to the Iraqi navy and marines during maritime security operations in the northern Arabian Gulf. Royal Navy warships and Royal Fleet Auxiliary support vessels will regularly form part of the coalition Task Force overseeing the security of the oil platforms until the Iraqi navy are ready to fully assume this task. In February 2006, the Iraqi marines took the lead in protecting the Al Basrah Oil Terminal, which itself accounted for the vast majority of Iraqi crude oil exports in 2005.
In the longer term, a capable air force will form an important element of Iraqs armed forces. The UK contributes to the training of the Iraqi air force under a US lead by providing a number of key staff officers to advise senior Iraqi air force commanders. Additionally, a small number of UK personnel are involved in training tasks in Iraq.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 3 July 2006, Official Report, columns 710-11W, on joint personnel administration, what definition he uses of the term formal grievance. 
Mr. Watson [holding answer 20 July 2006]: Where an individual remains dissatisfied with the response provided under the Armed Forces Personnel Administration Agencys internal complaints system they are able to invoke a formal grievance under the RAF Redress To Complaint procedure, section 180 of the Air Force Act 1955/Queens Regulations for the RAF 1000.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the extent to which the Royal Navy has a sufficient presence in the Mediterranean Sea to evacuate British citizens from Lebanon. 
The success of the Royal Navys evacuation operation of UK nationals and others from Lebanon since the recent hostilities began has demonstrated that its personnel and vessels were more than equal to the task.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether there is a facility in the Army for soldiers to (a) record and (b) anonymously record their concerns about the capability and adequacy of their equipment. 
Mr. Ingram: There are a number of ways available for soldiers to raise issues, faults and suggestions for improvement to equipment, including through the Chain of Command. At present there are no specific methods available to do so anonymously.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his Answer of 4 July 2006, Official Report, column 913W, on military vehicles, how many of the vehicles are (a) available to be deployed immediately, (b) undergoing repair, (c) undergoing Bowman conversion, (d) in storage and (e) being used for training purposes. 
|Fleet size||Immediately deployable/currently deployed||In 1( st) or 2( nd) line maintenance||Undergoing Bowman conversion||Storage||Used for training purposes|
|Equipment||Total operationally deployable||In 4( th) line maintenance||With design authority|
|(1) Salvaged or impaired tanks, and those on loan - not counted as operationally deployable|
(2) Saxon General War Role (GWR) is currently being withdrawn from Mechanised Infantry Battalions.
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many OMC/Alvis Mamba/RG-31 mine-protected vehicles were purchased for Army use; on what date they were purchased; what the total purchase price was; (a) by which formations, (b) for what purposes and (c) when the vehicles were used; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what modifications were made to the OMC/Alvis Mamba/RG-31 mine-protected vehicles in order to enhance mine protection and the TMRP-6 threat; how many vehicles were modified; what the total cost was of those modifications while on the Army inventory; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what (a) maintenance and (b) other difficulties were experienced by Army formations in their use of the OMC/Alvis Mamba/RG-31 mine-protected vehicles while on their charge; what steps were taken to resolve those difficulties; what outcomes resulted from those steps; and if he will make a statement; 
(4) when and to whom the inventory of OMC/Alvis Mamba/RG-31 mine-protected vehicles was disposed of; how much was received; what the end destination of the vehicles was; and if he will make a statement; 
The Mamba mine-protected vehicle was based on an earlier version of the RG-31. In response to an operational requirement for a vehicle protected against blast and explosively formed projectile attack from below and small arms, fragmentation and some blast from the side 14 second-hand Mamba vehicles were bought in three batches through the Urgent Operational Requirements process between 1996-99. Six were bought in 1996 for the NATO implementation force mission in Bosnia; three were procured in 1999 for operations in Macedonia; and a further five were bought later in 1999 for operations in Kosovo. The approval cost of the first six was around £1.2 million and the second and third batches cost £1 million and
£2.3 million respectively. They were used by specialist teams for explosive ordnance disposal tasks such as reconnaissance, rescue and recovery and route proving and were deployed in the Balkans until 2003.
The Mamba vehicle was delivered to the Ministry of Defence following modification of the base vehicle by the contractor, Alvis with the addition of appliqué belly armour to withstand attack by shaped-charge mines. This modification was included in the purchase cost. The extra weight of the appliqué armour was found to overload the Mambas and caused reliability and safety problems. The high level of maintenance required to keep the vehicles operational was exacerbated by a lack of commonality between the individual vehicles and poor availability of spares. In May 2001, due to road safety issues, their use was restricted to operational situations where there was a significant threat of minestrikes. Since the current version of the RG-31 is not in service with the UK armed forces we cannot comment on its ease of maintenance or reliability.
The MOD considered modifying and refurbishing the vehicles but replacement with a new vehicle was identified as the better option. As a result the vehicles were disposed of in 2004 for a total of £44,000. Nine were sold to Estonia, four to a US company and one to a company based in Singapore.
Mr. Ingram: Partnering agreements are already in place with three key non-BAES (Land Systems Munitions) suppliers: PW Defence (part of the Chemring Group), Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH and Wallop Defence Systems. Subject to satisfactory completion of negotiations, we hope to agree partnering arrangements with Chemring Counter Measures and Nobel Enterprises over the next two years.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) when he will reply to question 16696 on fatalities in Iraq, tabled by the hon. Member for Thurrock on 7 October 2005; and what the reason is for the delay in replying; 
Mr. Ingram [holding answers 10 October 2005 and 19 July 2006]: I regret the delay in providing an answer to my hon. Friends question of 7 October 2005. This was due to an administrative error, which new procedures for recording and tracking parliamentary questions will prevent in the future.
As at 17 July 2006, a total of 114 British armed forces personnel have died while serving on Operation TELIC since the start of the campaign in March 2003.
Of these, 85 are classed as killed in action, including 25 as a result of Improvised Explosive Devices. Information on fatalities in Iraq is available on the MOD website at www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/FactSheets/OperationsInIraq and in the Libraries of the House. The release of further information relating to the circumstances of successful attacks on UK forces could compromise operational security thereby placing our servicemen and women in additional unnecessary danger or potential harm.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|