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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department receives information on the work and research of the US Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organisation; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: The MOD regularly exchanges information on work and research with its allies to the mutual benefit of all parties. As part of continuing successful coalition operations, MOD discusses such topics with the US.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 13 November 2008, Official Report, column 1301W, on Morocco: armed forces, for what reason a news article of 24 October 2008 on his Departments website on training and adventure states that a joint exercise had taken place partly in the Atlas Mountains and partly in the Western Sahara. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Defence intranet site and the MOD internet site contained an article which reported British forces and the Royal Gibraltar Regiment training in Morocco. More specifically it referred to training in the Western Sahara. This article was ambiguous: all training was conducted within Morocco, including areas in the western Sahara desert, not in Western Sahara. The article has been amended to remove this ambiguity. It remains the case that British armed forces do not conduct military activity in Western Sahara, the status of which has yet to be determined by the UN.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many joint training exercises involving the UK and the Netherlands were conducted in support of the UK/Netherlands Amphibious Landing Force in 2008; and how many are planned for 2009. 
Mr. Quentin Davies [holding answer 2 February 2009]: The need to improve personal protection in response to developing threats is continually assessed. Further improvements to body armour and helmets are being developed and are planned to be introduced later this year. In the longer term, the Personal Equipment and Common Operational Clothing (PECOC) programme, which is currently in its assessment phase, will deliver further upgrades to items of personal protective equipment.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence How many (a) officers and (b) personnel in other ranks in each regular infantry and Royal Marine battalion were unfit for duty at the latest date for which figures are available. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 2 February 2009]: Unfit for duty has been interpreted as medically unfit to perform any duty. Personnel unfit for duty in their primary role but who can perform a role in an alternative capacity are not included in the following tables.
|Div||Unit||Number of personnel unfit for duty|
|(1) 1 Rifles data are as at 29 January 2009.|
|Unit||Number of personnel unfit for duty|
|Unit||Number of personnel unit for duty|
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) carried out 594 inspections of foreign aircraft at UK airports in 2008. These inspections are carried out on behalf of the Department for Transport and form part of the European Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft programme. The number of inspections conducted each month was:
|Number of SAFA inspections January to December 2008|
The CAA's Airworthiness Division also carried out approximately 900 safety inspections on UK registered aircraft during 2008. These inspections were carried out at maintenance organisations as well as at airports and formed part of a pre-planned monitoring programme that is applied to each UK aircraft owner or operator. The inspections varied in depth and scope between a simple in service ramp inspection through to a more in depth inspection during maintenance.
In addition, the CAA's Flight Operations Division has a system of planned audits of UK commercial operators which includes inspections of aeroplanes at airports. There were approximately 129 such inspections evenly spread throughout 2008. A further 20 inspections were specifically conducted on UK cargo aircraft.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency carries out inspections to check safety standards and living conditions on UK and dependent territory ships, as well as port state control inspections for foreign ships visiting UK ports. Over the last 12 months we have carried out the following number of targeted inspections and port state control inspections.
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