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29 Oct 2007 : Column 972W—continued

29 Oct 2007 : Column 973W

Derek Twigg: Blood supply to our medical teams in operational theatres is supplied in its component parts (e.g. red cell concentrate, platelets, plasma, cryoprecipitate) and is not supplied as whole blood. The information is therefore not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Appropriate procedures are in place to ensure sufficient blood resources are available in both operational theatres.

Iraq: Police

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has on the ethnic and religious composition of the Iraqi (a) police and (b) security forces of the (i) Ministry of Defence and (ii) Ministry of the Interior; and if he will make a statement. [158388]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The ethnic and religious composition of the Iraqi Security Forces and Iraqi Government Departments is a matter for the Iraqi Government. We do, however, work closely with the leadership of the Iraqi security forces in South East Iraq in an effort to ensure that the ethnic composition of those forces does not reduce their operational effectiveness.

Iraq: Prime Minister

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date he was first informed of the Prime Minister's plans to visit Iraq in October. [160051]

Des Browne: I regularly discuss Iraq with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, including the dates for potential visits.

Iraq: Resettlement

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what definition he uses of locally engaged staff. [160686]

Derek Twigg: MOD employs a number of locally engaged staff overseas who are known as locally engaged civilians (LECs). The definition of a locally engaged civilian is an employee who has been recruited locally as a “servant of the Crown”. In other words, they have not been recruited through fair and open competition in the UK under the Civil Service Order in Council and they are not therefore members of the Home Civil Service or the Diplomatic Service. LECs are also employed on terms and conditions analogous with local employment law and market forces, and not those of the UK. The majority of civilian personnel employed overseas by MOD are LECs and not civil servants.

Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to Annex A of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) (DEP 07/101), what changes to the proposed UK JSF delivery schedule have been made since the MoU signature. [161580]

29 Oct 2007 : Column 974W

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The UK continuously reviews its requirement and delivery profile for JSF in order to ensure Carrier Strike coherence. The profile contained within the MOU was an estimate of our requirement at that point in time. The current plan remains to purchase up to 150 Short Take Off and Vertical Landing JSF to fulfil this requirement.

Marine Afloat Reach and Support Project

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the procurement strategy for the Marine Afloat Reach and Support Project has been altered so that the competition for a lead project integrator has been abandoned; and if he will make a statement. [156463]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) project is currently in its assessment phase. During this stage of any Defence project, the MOD keeps its procurement approach under review to ensure it continues to meet the requirement and is fully exploiting market conditions in order to get the best value for money for Defence.

The initial contractual route for the MARS project centred on the formation of an alliance, consisting of MOD and industrial partners, including an Integrator. A number of influencing factors, however, led to a review of the MARS procurement strategy in May 2007: market developments, namely the rapidly changing shipbuilding market conditions; confirmation of the CVF order; and the changing industrial landscape under the Defence Industrial Strategy. The decision not to proceed with the MARS Integrator Competition was taken in this context.

MOD is currently analysing the various options available to best procure the MARS ships, concentrating initially on the fleet tankers which are the most urgently required vessels.

Married Quarters: Sales

Mr. Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Ministry of Defence houses were sold in each of the last 10 years. [160053]

Derek Twigg: Details of the number of service family accommodation (SFA) properties sold in Northern Ireland are not held centrally so will take a little more time to collate. I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Records of other SFA sold in financial year 1997-98 to 1999-2000 no longer exist. However, SFA properties sold in each financial year since FY 2000-01 are set out as follows:

Financial year SFA sold















29 Oct 2007 : Column 975W


Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future location of the office issuing medals to members of the Army; what assessment he has made of the impact of any future move of the office on (a) staff and (b) the effectiveness of the issuing process; and what further costs will be incurred in any such move. [157096]

Derek Twigg: I have yet to receive the Business Case in support of the recent study into the future accommodation requirements of the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency.

However, I can assure the hon. Gentleman that when I come to look at its recommendations, I will of course take into consideration the impact of any decision made to the services delivered by the Ministry of Defence Medal Office.

I will inform Parliament once a decision has been made.

Military Aircraft: Deployment

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many times Royal Air Force flights were scrambled to intercept aircraft approaching the UK in each month for the latest year for which figures are available; and in each case from which countries the approaching aircraft originated. [155132]

Des Browne [holding answer 12 September 2007]: For the year from 1 September 2006 to 31 August 2007, the number of scrambles to intercept aircraft approaching the UK by month is given in the following table:




























Not all scrambles resulted in an interception as some incidents were resolved before the target aircraft was intercepted. The military aircraft involved were Russian. The civilian airliners were from a range of countries.

Military Aircraft: Manpower

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many ground personnel in theatre are required to keep each (a) Eurofighter, (b) GR7 Harrier, (c) Merlin, (d) Lynx, (e) Sea King, (f) Chinook and (g) Apache operational. [157075]

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Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The number of personnel required to support each aircraft will vary depending on operational theatre and tasking. It is not possible to assign a precise number of personnel to a specific aircraft type, as many individuals provide essential support services to several aircraft types. The Typhoon (Eurofighter) aircraft is not currently deployed to any operational theatre.

Military Fighting Vehicles

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when his Department's programme to fit air conditioning units to many current and future armoured fighting vehicles and protected patrol vehicles began; and what percentage of vehicles identified as requiring such units now have them. [157089]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Details on the programmes to fit air conditioning to the current and future armoured fighting vehicles and protected patrol vehicles are shown as follows:

Vehicle Programme to fit air conditioning units Percentage of those vehicles requiring air conditioning which have it fitted

Challenger 2

Fitted at manufacture(1)



Began June 2007


FV430 Bulldog

Began June 2007



Fitted at manufacture


Saxon Patrol

Began June 2006



Fitted at manufacture



Fitted at manufacture



Fitted at manufacture



Began July 2007



Began mid-2004


(1) An improved variant now fitted to 100 per cent of operational fleet.
(2) All vehicles on operations are fitted with air conditioning. A further 20 non-operational vehicles being fitted as a contingency measure.
(3) All Warriors on operations are fitted with driver’s Environmental Cooling Units (ECU). Programme to fit operational fleet with driver/infantry section ECU ongoing. 98 per cent. of op. fleet will be fitted by January 2008.

On present plans, all Future Rapid Effects System vehicles will be fitted with environmental control systems.


Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which of the NATO Mediterranean dialogue partner countries have begun negotiations for individual cooperation programmes with NATO; and when these negotiations are expected to be concluded. [158274]

Des Browne: To date, two of the seven Mediterranean dialogue countries have entered into negotiations with NATO for an individual co-operation programme. Israel's was agreed in October 2006; and Egypt's on 17 October 2007.

29 Oct 2007 : Column 977W

Nuclear Weapons: Testing

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what records his Department holds on how many (a) British service personnel, (b) medical auxiliaries, (c) UK Atomic Energy Authority personnel, (d) Atomic Weapons Research Establishment personnel and (e) others took part in the British nuclear testing programme in the Pacific and Australia in the 1950s and 1960s. [160505]

Derek Twigg: MOD does not hold statistics on overall participation in the tests. Three studies by the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB, now part of the Health Protection Agency) into mortality and cancer incidence among UK nuclear test veterans included 21,357 participants identified from MOD archives. This can be taken as a lower limit on the total number of people who participated in the tests. The NRPB studies count a total of 27,505 ‘involvements’ from the 21,357 participants. The number of test involvements was greater than the number of participants because some people attended more than one test.

The 27,505 involvements are broken down as follows:

The figure for AWRE staff includes a small but unspecified number from the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell.

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the title is of each document relating to British nuclear tests in (a) Australia, (b) Christmas Island and (c) Malden Island that has been withheld from public release at the National Archives. [160507]

Derek Twigg: In accordance with the Public Records Acts, MOD withholds from release to the public at the National Archives files that are over 30 years old, or extracts from them, if and for so long as their contents are judged to be sensitive.

Currently MOD holds 45 complete file parts and 10 extracts from file parts that relate to the nuclear tests in Australia, Christmas Island and Malden Island. Lists of all the documents contained within these files could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The files titles are as follows:


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