Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the net present value was of a pension for a sergeant retiring after (a) 18 years service on 30 April 1997 as a (i) Gurkha and (ii) regular army non-commissioned officer and (b) 22 years service on 30 April 2008 under (A) AFPS 75 and (B) AFPS 05. 
A direct comparison for pension benefits paid after 18 years service on 30 April 1997 is not possible. If a Gurkha Sergeant was discharged after 18 years service on 30 April 1997, he would have been eligible for the following under the Gurkha Pension Scheme (GPS).
|Immediate award ICR( 1)
|NPV( 2) ICR
|NPV (£)( 3)
|(1) ICRIndian Currency Rupees
(2 )NPVNet Present Value
(3) Current exchange rate of 80.68 ICR to £1.
|Award payable at age 60
|Net present value
To ensure 22 years reckonable service on 30 April 2008 under AFPS 75 and qualification for Early Departure Payment benefits under AFPS 05 a date of birth of 1 May 1968 and an enlistment date of 1 May 1986 have been assumed. An annual salary figure of £33,922.32, which applies to both Gurkha and Regular Army Sergeants, has been used for the AFPS 05 calculations. This is based on the pay rate for a Sergeant who is on Level 5, on the higher spine.
|AFPS 0 5
In the Gurkha example, pensionable service before 1 July 1997 has been given a value in AFPS broadly equivalent to the pension earned in the Gurkha Pension Scheme. This is in line with the Gurkha pensions Offer to Transfer, which was found to be reasonable and lawful by the High Court.
Mr. Quentin Davies: On 8 May 2008, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) announced selection of PIRANHA V offered by General Dynamics (UK) Ltd as the preferred design for the FRES (Future Rapid Effect System) Utility Vehicle. Acknowledging that there were significant issues to be resolved during negotiations, the MOD took the step of making General Dynamics (UK) Ltds preferred bidder status provisional. For reasons of commercial confidentiality I cannot go into further details at this time.
The Specialist Vehicle (SV) element of the FRES programme continues to make good progress. In June 2008, departmental approval was given for the SV Assessment Phase. The aim of this phase is to refine the requirement, develop programme options for delivering the FRES Specialist Vehicle capability and to understand and mitigate technical risk. The Assessment Phase includes the placement of a range study of contracts with industry. We are also currently developing the Acquisition Strategy for future stages of the SV programme.
Mr. Quentin Davies: Specific operational information on the weight of Army vehicles is withheld as its disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces. Insurgents could estimate the weight of armour and payload, potentially giving a tactical advantage. Knowledge of the total weight of a vehicle may allow opposing forces to determine the possible routes a convoy may follow and allow more effective attack planning. General equipment weights (i.e. before up-armouring) however are in the public domain.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Written Ministerial Statement of 29 October 2008, Official Report, columns 28-30WS, on protected mobility, which types of lesser protected vehicles he plans to withdraw from operations. 
Mr. Hutton: The tactical support vehicles (TSVs) Coyote, Husky and Wolfhound will replace light utility B vehicles operating outside the wire such as the Pinzgauer 4x4, Pinzgauer 6x6, General Service Land Rover and Land Rover Truck Utility Medium/Truck Utility Light. The TSVs will also undertake some of the roles currently carried out using Snatch Land Rover. TSVs together with the Snatch Vixen modification programme will replace the use of Snatch 2A outside the wire. The Warthog will replace Viking.
Mr. Quentin Davies: The strategic intent to transform the way in which support is delivered to our current Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) fleet in order to ensure best value for money remains extant. The approach so far has been embodied in the Armoured Vehicle Support Initiative (AVSI) which examines the comparative advantage of either contracting with a partner (BAE Systems) or delivering support through incremental improvement to current support arrangements. The Department intends to pursue this strategic intent in 2009 although the format is continually reviewed.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will include the Hadley plant of BAE Land Systems in the work undertaken to deliver the Warrior Fightability Lethality Improvement Programme.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will ensure that BAE Land Systems at Hadley is utilised to meet urgent operational requirements arising from the future rapid effects systems utility vehicle programme. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: There are no current Urgent Operational Requirements arising from the Future Rapid Effect System Utility Vehicle programme, which is in its Assessment Phase. The Department cannot ensure that any particular company is used, as MOD sources globally in order to achieve the best possible value for money through life for the armed forces. Once a company is selected to meet a specific requirement it is matter for the company on how and where it meets this requirement.
Mr. Quentin Davies: The Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP) will upgrade the current Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) to meet the current and future requirements of the British Army. The programme is in the early stages of its Acquisition Cycle. In common with all defence equipment programmes, it is our policy not to release or discuss in service dates ahead of main investment decisions.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of whether the Army Terms of Service (Amendment etc.) Regulations 2008 are compatible with the Convention rights in the Human Rights Act 1998. 
Mr. Kevan Jones:
The Army Terms of Service (Amendment etc.) Regulations 2008 came into effect on 6 August 2008. The regulations brought the minimum
commitment period for soldiers under 18 years of age back into line with the provisions that existed prior to 1 January 2008, i.e. that they should serve for a minimum of four years from their 18th birthday.
Ayios Nikolas (Cyprus)
British Army Training Unit Suffield (Canada)