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21 Jan 2008 : Column 1593W—continued

Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability Programme

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Government plan to put the Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability project out to EU tender. [178151]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) programme consists of three classes of ships (Fleet Tanker, Fleet Solid Support and Joint Sea Based Logistic), which will carry fuel, stores and provide logistic support for maritime and expeditionary forces including the Future Carrier. MARS Fleet Tankers will be procured competitively and the design and build requirement was advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union on 10 December 2007. No decisions have yet been made however, as to where the ships will finally be built. The procurement strategies for later ship classes in the
21 Jan 2008 : Column 1594W
MARS programme are still under development to ensure flexibility within the programme.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions have taken place with staff at BAE Govan and Scotstoun about the procurement of the Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability project. [178152]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) Integrated Project Team has ongoing dialogue with a number of key players in the shipbuilding industry, including BAE Systems. BAE Systems attended the MARS Industry day in November 2007 and has registered its interest in delivering the Fleet Tanker (FT) element of the MARS programme. Upon request, those interested in delivering the FT have been provided with a pre qualification questionnaire and, if returned, this will be evaluated during February and March 2008.

Procurement strategies for later ship classes in the MARS programme are still under development to ensure flexibility within the programme.

Military Aircraft: Helicopters

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what percentage of each helicopter type in the (a) Army Air Corps, (b) Royal Navy and (c) RAF are (i) in service and (ii) fit for purpose. [177536]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The numbers and types of helicopters utilised by the Royal Navy, Army Air Corps and Royal Air Force which are in the forward fleet and considered fit for purpose are detailed in the following table. Forward fleet aircraft are those that are available to the front line command for operational and training purposes (i.e. those not in depth maintenance). Aircraft defined as fit for purpose are those considered capable of carrying out their planned missions on a given date.

Forward fleet Percentage of total fleet Fit for purpose Percentage of forward fleet

Royal Navy

Sea King HC Mk4 and 6

31

74

12

39

Lynx Mk 3 and 8

41

65

25

61

Merlin Mk 1

27

71

12

44

Sea King Mk 5

11

73

6

55

Sea King Mk 7

9

69

6

67

Army Air Corps

Apache AH Mkl

48

72

25

52

Augusta A 109

4

100

3

75

Lynx AH Mk 7 and 9

57

58

33

58

Gazelle HC Mk 1

45

62

36

80

Royal Air Force

Chinook HC Mk 2

26

65

17

65

Merlin HC Mk 3

15

68

8

53

Puma HC Mk 1

21

55

14

67

SAR Sea King Mk 3/3a

17

68

9

53


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The figures shown are the average for the month of November 2007. The number of helicopters fit for purpose will vary from day to day due, primarily, to routine maintenance requirements. Operational capability is measured in terms of flying hours rather than the number of airframes available.

These figures do not include the six RAF Merlin helicopters recently acquired from Denmark or the eight RAF Chinook Mark 3 helicopters that are being converted to a battlefield support role.

Military Attaches

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK defence attachés and advisers there are
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(a) at each UK diplomatic post, (b) in each region of the world and (c) in total; what their responsibilities are; how many defence attaché posts have been (i) established and (ii) discontinued at each diplomatic post since 1997; and what effect the withdrawal of Foreign and Commonwealth Office funding for the defence attaché network has had on his Department's plans for its funding. [179164]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The following table shows resident attachés by country and by region. Other countries are covered on a non-resident basis.


21 Jan 2008 : Column 1597W

21 Jan 2008 : Column 1598W
Region/country Defence attaché/defence adviser Military attaché Naval attaché Air attaché Country total

Asia Pacific

Afghanistan

1

1

Australia

1

1 x MA/AA

2

Bangladesh

1

1

Brunei

1

1

China

1

1

1 x NA/AA

3

India(1)

1

1 x NA/AA

2

Indonesia

1

1

Japan

1

1

Korea

1

1 x NA/AA

2

Malaysia

1

1

Nepal

1

1 x AMA

2

New Zealand

1

1

Pakistan(2)

1

1 x NA/AA

2

Singapore

1

1

Sri Lanka

1

1

Thailand

1

1

Region total

23

Central Europe and Western Balkans

Albania

1

1

Bosnia and Herzegovina

1

1

Croatia

1

1

Czech Republic

1

1

Lithuania

1

1

Macedonia

1

1

Poland

1

1 x NA/MA

2

Serbia

1

1

Region total

9

Commonwealth of Independent States and the Black Sea

Bulgaria

1

1

Georgia

1

1

Kazakhstan

1

1

Romania

1

1

Russia(3)

1

2

2

1

6

Ukraine

1

1

Region total

11

Latin America and Caribbean

Argentina

1

1

2

Barbados

1

1

Brazil

1

1

Chile

1

1

Colombia

1

1

Guatemala

1

1

Jamaica

1

1

Region total

8

Mediterranean

Algeria

1

1

Cyprus

1

1

Greece

1

1 x NA/AA

2

Italy

1

1 x NA/AA

2

Morocco

1

1

Portugal

1

1

Spain

1

1 x Dep DA

2

Turkey

1

1 x NA/MA

2

Region total

12

Middle and Near East

Bahrain

1

1

Egypt

1

1

Iraq

1

1

Israel

1

1 x NA/AA

2

Jordan

1

1

2

Kuwait

1

1

Lebanon

1

1

Oman

1

1 x NA/AA

2

Qatar

1

1

Saudi Arabia

1

1 x NA/MA

2

Syria

1

1

United Arab Emirates

1

1

Yemen

1

1

Region total

17

North America and Western Europe

Austria

1

1 x Dep DA

2

Canada

1

1 x NA/AA

2

Denmark

1

1

Finland

1

1

France

1

1

1

3

Germany

1

1

1 x NA/AA

3

Netherlands

1

1

Norway

1

1

Sweden

1

1

United States of America

2

2

2

2

8

UK Mission to UN New York

2

2

Region total

25

Sub-Saharan Africa

Congo, Democratic Republic of (DRC)

1

1

Ethiopia

1

1

Ghana

1

1

Kenya

1

1

Nigeria

1

1

Sierra Leone

1

1

South Africa

1

1 x NA/AA

2

Sudan

1

1

Uganda

1

1

Zimbabwe

1

1

Region total

11

Total

116

(1) DA is supported by an Assistant DA. (2 )DA is supported by an Assistant DA. (3) DA is also the AA and is supported by an Assistant Air Attaché shown under the Air Attaché column above.

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