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Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department has initiated disciplinary action against any individual as a consequence of their involvement in the commissioning of the eight Chinook helicopters which remain unairworthy. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 16 June 2008]: A full inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the Chinook procurement was held in 2004. It found that the failures were systemic and no individuals were to blame. Lessons have been learnt and procedures have been put in place to avoid a similar occurrence.
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many times officials in his Department met representatives of the National Audit Office in each year since 1997 to discuss the value for money of his Department's major projects. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: MOD officials meet regularly with representatives of the National Audit Office to discuss a variety of subjects, including value for money. The specific nature of individual meetings is not held centrally.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when each of his Department's and its agencies' green transport plans were introduced; and if he will place in the Library a copy of each such plan. 
Derek Twigg: The Ministry of Defence has not published a green transport plan. In a Department of MODs size and complexity, travel is something most tangibly dealt with at site level. Two MOD agencies have published green transport plans: The Hydrographic Office in April 2008 and The Meteorological Office in 2007. I shall place copies of both plans in the Library of the House.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Permanent Joint Headquarters appraisals of (a) the proposed transfer of police functions of the Gibraltar Service Police (GSP), (b) the functions and jurisdiction of the GSP on land currently owned and managed by his Department and (c) the future of GSP assets will take place; if he will place in the Library a copy of each appraisal on completion; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Work is continuing on the future of the Gibraltar Service Police. Part of this process will involve discussions between HQ British Forces Gibraltar and the Government of Gibraltar on future policing options. Once these discussions have concluded, there will be a full appraisal of the options for the future of the GSP before any final decision is taken. I will write to the hon. Member once a final decision has been taken.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which units have been deployed to (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan over the last 12 months with full-strength bearing; and how many troops were deployed. 
I undertook to write to you in answer to your Parliamentary Question on 29 January 2008 (Official Report, column 186W), about which units have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 12 months with full strength bearing and how many troops were deployed.
As my answer indicated, all units will deploy at the strength required for the tasks that they are asked to fulfil during their operational tour. The table, attached at ANNEX A, lists the main formed units which deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan from November 2006 to April 2008 and the total troop numbers which these units deployed. The equivalent information is not held for subunits, so the totals will not match the overall numbers which deployed on each roulement. As you know, it is not unusual for a roulement to be configured from elements of a number of units, each of which are contributing a small number of troops in support of the main formation. All units that are tasked to deploy on each operational tour are listed in the relevant announcement laid before Parliament.
You may also be interested in the answers given to the Hon Member for Newark, Patrick Mercer, on 7 January 2008 (Official Report, column 50W) and 16 January 2008 (Official Report, column 1247W), about peace establishment numbers for a number or regiments. I enclose copies of the Hansard extracts for ease of reference.
I am placing a copy of this letter in the Library of the House.
|Annex A: Formed unit strengths deployed on recent operational tours|
|Telic deployments: Telic 9November 2006 to May 2007|
|Telic deployments: Telic 10June 2007 to November 2007|
|Herrick deployments: Herrick 5October 2006 to April 2007|
|Unit||Total unit strength|
|Herrick deployments: Herrick 6April 2007 to October 2007|
|Herrick deployments: Herrick 7October 2007 to April 2008|
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in which vehicles British service personnel were (a) killed and (b) injured as a result of hostile action in (i) Iraq and (ii) Afghanistan in each month since operations started; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) on what date the decision was taken not to procure the (a) NH90 helicopter, (b) Bell 407 helicopter, (c) EC635 helicopter, (d) AB139 helicopter and (e) UH-60 helicopter to meet the capability to be met by the Future Lynx; 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The correct departmental procedures were followed to reach the decision to procure the new Future Lynx helicopter. I do not therefore see a need to initiate any investigation into the procedures followed in arriving at this decision. The final decision was taken by MOD Ministers, following agreement from Her Majesty's Treasury, on 31 May 2006 on the basis of advice and recommendations from the MOD Investment Approvals Board.
Mr. Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the letter of 31 July 2007 from Lord Drayson to the hon. Member for Harwich, (1) what assessment he has made of the ability of Future Lynx to meet the surface combatant maritime rotorcraft capability at a lower cost than alternatives; 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Ministry of Defence follows a detailed approvals process for all major equipment procurement decisions. For all such decisions a range of factors are considered including acquisition cost, the ability of the equipment to meet our capability requirements, technical and programme risk and coherence with the defence industrial strategy. The approvals process is designed to ensure all these factors are considered and procurement decisions are not based on any single factor. In the case of the surface combatant maritime rotorcraft and battlefield reconnaissance helicopter capabilities, following consideration of the range of factors, Future Lynx was considered to be the best solution to meet our requirements.
Mr. Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) for what reasons his Department did not conduct a competitive process before awarding AgustaWestland the contract to build the Future Lynx to meet the battlefield reconnaissance helicopter requirement; 
(2) what consideration was given to procuring an off-the-shelf helicopter under a competitive process to meet the battlefield reconnaissance helicopter requirement; and what estimate he has made of when helicopters would have been available to the armed forces under such a procurement process. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth:
An assessment was made by the Department in 2001 which concluded that the Future Lynx aircraft likely offered the best through-life approach to the delivery of the Army's battlefield light utility helicopter (BLUH) and Royal Navy's surface combatant maritime rotorcraft (SCMR) requirements and a sole
source assessment phase was launched. We continued to benchmark the Future Lynx approach against other opportunities, including within the analysis that underpinned the future rotorcraft capability programme during 2004-05, where the Army's requirement was described as the battlefield reconnaissance helicopter (BRH).
The analysis concluded that the delivery of the BRH and the SCMR requirements through a single helicopter type (Future Lynx) provided the best combination of through-life military capability, time to deliver into service, cost and risk. As such, we decided not to launch a competition.
Mr. Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what account was taken in the Department's procurement process of the conclusion of the long-term partnering agreement between his Department and AgustaWestland in March 2005, with particular reference to bidders for fulfilment of the Future Lynx contract. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Heads of Agreement signed with Agusta Westland in March 2005 and announced via a written ministerial statement on 24 March 2005, Official Report, column 83WS, committed the Department to exploring the possibility of partnering. The same statement confirmed that the potential award of a Future Lynx contract was subject to continuing negotiations to agree acceptable contract conditions and prices within clearly defined parameters. The subsequent decision to proceed with Future Lynx was taken as this represented the best through-life approach; its contribution to the sustainment of critical UK skills was a secondary consideration.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Predator unmanned aerial vehicles the armed forces have; and how many have been (a) used in recent operations and (b) shot down. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Ministry of Defence has procured three Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as Predator B. Reaper operations began in Afghanistan in October 2007 and capability continues to be built up. None have been shot down, but one was lost in April 2008 as the result of a forced landing. A replacement will be delivered in due course. We do not comment on the exact numbers of platforms in use on operations at any particular time.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many weapons systems have been removed from ships in the Royal Navy because (a) of the need to make expenditure reductions, (b) they were no longer operationally needed and (c) for other reasons in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: As a result of agreed resource priorities, a decision was made in 2007 to remove sea dart weapon systems from two Type 42 Destroyers. Royal Navy Ships continue to be armed with weapon system capabilities required to meet their tasking.
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