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29 Jan 2009 : Column 718W—continued



29 Jan 2009 : Column 719W

29 Jan 2009 : Column 720W
Light artillery units
Unit Operation name Location Date

29 Cdo Regt RA

L118 (Light)

Op Silkman

Sierra Leone

2000

Op Jacana

Afghanistan

2001

Op Telic 1

Iraq

2003

Op Herrick 5

Afghanistan

2006-07

Op Herrick 9

Afghanistan

2008-09

40 Regt RA

L118 (Light)

Op Banner

Bosnia

1999

Op Agricola

Macedonia and Kosovo

2001

Op Telic 1

Iraq

(1)2003

Op Telic 2

Iraq

2003

Op Tosca

Cyprus

2004

Op Telic 9

Iraq

2006-07

7 Para RHA

L118 (Light)

Op Banner

Northern Ireland

1999-2000

Op Agricola

Macedonia and Kosovo

1999

Op Silkman

Sierra Leone

(1)2000

Op Agricola

Macedonia and Kosovo

(1)2001

Op Jacana

Afghanistan

2001-02

Op Telic 1

Iraq

2003

Op Agricola

Kosovo

(1)2004-05

Op Herrick 4

Afghanistan

2006

Op Herrick 8

Afghanistan

2008

(1) Elements of regiment deployed

All deployments are at Regimental Scale of Effort unless otherwise specified.

Departmental Land

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) estimated monetary value, (b) location and (c) size is of each land asset owned by his Department. [252097]

Mr. Kevan Jones: Details of all land owned by the Ministry of Defence are held on a property database, including the last valuation based on the rolling five year revaluation programme undertaken by the Department. Valuations are stated at either replacement cost or existing use value rather than market or sale value and thus do not take account of the possibility of any development potential or any costs associated with the decontamination of the land.

An extract has been taken from the database and will be placed in the Library of the House.

Departmental Public Relations

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Rochford and Southend, East (James Duddridge) of 11 November 2008, Official Report, column 1000W, on departmental public relations, which areas of work and projects the external public relations firm worked on; and for what reasons such work was not conducted in-house. [252214]

Mr. Kevan Jones: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence gave on 22 January 2009, Official Report, column 1673W.

Gulf War: Veterans

Mr. Mates: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will commission further research into the diagnosis and treatment of Gulf War veterans’ illnesses; and if he will make a statement. [251121]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The Medical Research Council (MRC) has provided independent advice on our Gulf research programme. In 2003, the Ministry of Defence asked the MRC to undertake an independent scientific review of all the UK research work that has been carried out into Gulf veterans’ illnesses in an international context and to advise on whether there are any areas appropriate for future research. The MRC’s recommendations were published on 22 May 2003 and are available at:

A key recommendation was that future research work should focus on improving the long-term health of veterans with persistent symptoms and proposals on rehabilitation therapies were sought. A contract for research into ways of rehabilitating unwell Gulf veterans was awarded to an expert group at Cardiff University last summer and work is expected to be complete by April 2012. In the event of any new research proposals being made that would add to our knowledge on Gulf health issues then the Ministry of Defence will consider funding any proposal for research which has been formally considered and approved by the MRC.

HMS Plymouth

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department will seek to provide an open berth for HMS Plymouth in a British port. [252390]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The former HMS Plymouth is a privately owned vessel. While the Ministry of Defence would always wish to see a dignified and appropriate use for the vessel, it has no practical role in her placement or usage.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether HMS Richmond will be deployed to duties pertaining to the arms embargo on the Gaza Strip before Operation Telic ends. [251891]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: We are considering the provision of naval resources to counter the smuggling of weapons into Gaza. No decisions have yet been taken.

Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft

Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether Lockheed Martin have been asked to postpone the completion date for the Joint Strike Fighter. [252898]

Mr. Quentin Davies: We have never asked Lockheed Martin to postpone the completion date for JSF. We have not even declared an In Service Date for this programme in the UK and will only do so when the programme is sufficiently mature. We are one of nine participant nations in the JSF programme and its completion date cannot be determined by one participant in isolation.

Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the Joint Strike Fighter to enter service. [252899]


29 Jan 2009 : Column 721W

Mr. Quentin Davies: We will not be setting in-service dates for the Joint Combat Aircraft (JCA) until we take the main investment decision, and we will take that decision when the project is sufficiently mature. The Joint Strike Fighter remains our preferred solution to meet the JCA requirement and our current plans for JCA remain coherent with the CVF programme.

Mass Media

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost of his Department’s contracts with press monitoring services was in each of the last five years. [251223]

Mr. Kevan Jones: Information is only available for the last four financial years. I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 12 November 2008, Official Report, column 1177W, to the hon. Member for Woodspring (Dr. Fox).


29 Jan 2009 : Column 722W

Military Aircraft: Helicopters

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what proportion of helicopter pilots did not undertake the required 15 hours individual flying training per month in the last year. [251748]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: NATO guidance recommends that helicopter aircrew undertake 15 hours flying training per month in order to maintain competency. While this is an accepted guideline across the MOD it is not interpreted as an absolute requirement for Army and RAF helicopter pilots.

Information on individual flying training hours for Army and RAF helicopters is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

However, Royal Navy regulations require that Royal Navy helicopter pilots undertake 15 hours flying training per month. Figures for the number and proportion of Royal Navy pilots who did not complete 15 hours training per month in the last year are shown in the following table.

Sea King force
Merlin force SK5 SK7 Lynx force
2008 Number Percentage Number Percentage Number Percentage Number Percentage

January

14

31

17

65

2

16

10

20

February

14

32

3

12

0

0

7

14

March

13

30

14

50

3

24

7

14

April

11

24

1

3

3

24

11

22

May

14

31

5

17

2

16

8

16

June

14

30

3

10

3

24

4

8

July

14

30

2

7

2

16

7

14

August

28

61

6

23

9

72

23

47

September

5

11

1

4

4

21

3

6

October

11

24

2

7

1

7

5

10

November

7

15

4

15

6

42

5

10

December

18

40

6

21

5

35

11

22

Note:
These figures only represent the data requested in the question and do not reflect the number of aircrew in current flying practice and therefore ready for duty. Three month rolling currency requirement and currency checks ensure the number of aircrew ready for duty is maximised.

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