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Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reasons the Atlas consortium was awarded a DII add-on contract in December 2006; what progress has been made on the original contract; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my predecessor gave on 30 January 2007, Official Report, column 154-55W to my hon. Friend the Member for North-West Leicestershire (David Taylor).
Delivery of some elements of the Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) (DII(F)) increment 1 are up to a year behind the original plan; however increments 1 and 2a have been combined to provide a more efficient and effective overall delivery plan. Over 22,000 DII(F) terminals have been delivered, supporting over 62,000 users.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy to release the general design specification for Bowman batteries and invite a range of companies to tender for their supply. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: No. The Bowman prime contract was let in 2001 and the prime contractor, who has a commitment to supply the Bowman suite of batteries until 2009, issued a set of performance criteria and tested the market to ensure that the supplier offering the most appropriate, cost effective solutions was selected.
A Bowman power study is being conducted which, when complete, should assist with ensuring that improved capabilities are delivered to the armed forces and aid the future procurement strategy for batteries.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the ability of ABSL/AEA to provide batteries for Bowman to the standard required in theatre; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Department has not undertaken an assessment of ABSL/AEA's ability to provide batteries for Bowman to the required standard. Overall responsibility to MOD for the standard of the product rests with the Bowman Prime Contractor, General Dynamics United Kingdom Ltd. However, ABSL Power Solutions, as the battery provider, is responsible for the quality and assurance of their products.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reasons Bowman HF batteries have been recalled for replacement; and who was responsible for ensuring that the quality of this product was of the standard necessary for theatre before it was sent overseas. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth:
In 2006, Bowman High Frequency (HF) Mark 1 radio batteries were recalled when it became evident that an immersion requirement had not been met and water ingress could occur. The battery provider, ABSL Power Solutions agreed to replace all
Mark 1 HF batteries at no cost to the Department and the replacement programme is continuing. Overall responsibility to MOD for the standard of the product rests with the Bowman prime contractor, General Dynamics United Kingdom Ltd. However, ABSL Power Solutions, as the battery provider, is responsible for the quality and assurance of their products.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will take steps to ensure that English wine is served exclusively or at the request of guests at meals, parties and receptions hosted by his Department; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: All public procurement procedures must comply with the EC treaty. The relevant principles of the treaty from a public procurement point of view are the free movement of goods and services and non-discrimination on the grounds of nationality. This legislation is designed to ensure that all public procurement across the European Union is fair, transparent and non-discriminatory. This means that the MOD cannot specify that it will buy goods solely from a particular country or locality, as that would discriminate against producers from other EU member states.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on the acquisition of paintings for his departmental art collection; and what his Departments budget for art acquisitions is in 2007-08. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what helicopters are (a) owned and (b) utilised by (i) his Department and (ii) the armed forces; what the (A) original date of manufacture and (B) first in-service year was for each such helicopter; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The following table shows the helicopters owned and leased by the Department for use by the armed forces. The original date of manufacture has been taken as when the first aircraft came off production, except for the Lynx for which the date of the first Lynx Trials Installation Flight has been given. The first year in service has been taken as the year in which the aircraft were first flown by the UK military.
|Helicopter type||MOD owned/leased||Original date of manufacture||First in service year|
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Iraq on apprehending those responsible for the murder of six members of the Royal Military Police in 2003; and if he will make a statement. 
[holding answer 21 January 2008]: The UK Government remains absolutely committed to bringing to justice those responsible for the murder of six members of the Royal Military Police at Al Majar Al Kabir on 24 June 2003. Ministers, and our ambassador in Baghdad, frequently press the Iraqi authorities to enact the arrest warrants issued in 2006
and will continue to do so until these individuals are apprehended. I personally raised this issue with the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, when I met him last October and he offered his full co-operation.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether British personnel based at Camp Buehring in Kuwait will receive the (a) Iraq Medal and (b) council tax rebate; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Under the current arrangements armed forces personnel may only receive the Iraq Medal for service on the land and in the airspace of Iraq, as well as the waters of the Northern Gulf, Iraqi territorial seas and Iraqi internal waters. However, in common with all campaign medals the situation is kept under constant review by the Chain of Command, and continues to take into account the ongoing risks and rigours of the operations in which British troops are involved.
Council tax relief will be paid to service personnel serving in Camp Buehring who are involved in Operation Telic (roulement) 11. Payment will be made from 1 April 2008 and, in line with the introduction of operational allowance payment for these personnel, will be backdated to 1 November 2007.
|(1) Comprehensive data unobtainable in the time available|
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