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Bill Rammell: No special advisers are provided with an allocated Government car and driver. As with all civil servants, special advisers may use an official car or taxi in properly defined circumstances. Details of such use is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Kevan Jones [holding 2 November 2009]: Since 2001 the members of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment have received 55 Iraq Medals, one Iraq Medal with clasp and one United States Bronze Star in respect of service in Iraq. For service in Afghanistan one Military Cross, 14 Operational Service Medals with Afghanistan clasp and two United States Commendation Medals have been awarded.
Mr. Benyon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what advice he received from (a) the Chief of General Staff, (b) operational commanders and (c) other senior Army personnel on the decision to sell the Army's stock of Gazelle helicopters. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: The Ministry of Defence occasionally receives offers from industry to purchase or lease helicopters in support of operations. I am withholding the information as its disclosure would prejudice commercial interests.
Delivering helicopter capability is complex and beyond the immediate procurement of new airframes, additional time and cost is required to modify helicopters to meet specific operational and environmental threats and likely mission requirements, to certify the aircraft, to deliver support arrangements and to train air and ground crew. In order to deliver increased operational helicopter capability quickly, it has often proven more effective to invest in maximising the return from our existing fleets.
Where possible though we have sought to make use of commercial capacity to deliver freight. We have a contract for routine freight movement in Afghanistan, which has allowed our own departmental helicopters to focus on supporting military operations.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 21 October 2009, Official Report, column 1469W, on what dates since October 2008 the specialist technical exchanges referred to in the answer have taken place; which of these involved discussion or demonstration of best practice on warhead disassembly; and whether any transfer of fissile material took place during such exchanges. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made of the probability of Puma helicopter aircrew surviving crashes of differing severity; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: We routinely assess the safety of our aircraft to ensure that the equipment remains safe to operate and that the risks to personnel are reduced to as low as reasonably practicable, as is required of us under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. As a result we have introduced a number of modifications to the Puma aircraft to enhance its safety through-life, and are planning further enhancements as part of life extension programme for the aircraft which we contacted with Eurocopter on 18 September 2009.
|Territorial Army strength by paid rank: 1997 to 2009|
|Date||All TA personnel||All TA officers||Brigadier||Colonel||Lt. Colonel||Major||Captain||Lieutenant||Second Lieutenant|
|Date||All TA other ranks||WO1||WO2||Staff Sergeant||Sergeant||Corporal||Lance Corporal||Private|
|(1) = Zero or rounded to zero.|
(2) = Denotes provisional.
(3) = Denotes unavailable.
TA Personnel include Group A and B, Mobilised TA, OTC and NRPS. FTRS are excluded.
April 2003 includes 60 TA soldiers of unknown rank.
After April 2007 Territorial Army Officer and Soldier breakdowns are not included due to JPA data validation issues.
Figures have been rounded to 10; numbers ending in "5" have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.
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