Gurkhas: Pensions

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of the Gurkha veterans who have settled in the UK since May 2009 are classified as (a) service pensioners and (b) welfare pensioners. [85224]

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Mr Robathan [holding answer 6 December 2011]:No information is held to identify whether Gurkha veterans who have settled in the UK since May 2009 are service or welfare pensioners.

Harrier Aircraft

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether the sale price for the Harrier jump jet includes intellectual property rights for their upgrade; [84983]

(2) what methodology his Department used to calculate the sale price for the Harrier jump jet; [84984]

(3) with how many (a) private contractors and (b) national governments his Department has had discussions on the sale of Harrier jump jets. [84985]

Peter Luff: The UK-owned Harrier aircraft are included in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the USA, Italy and Spain. Given the support arrangements that were set out in the MOU, which requires first refusal to be given to these nations, the UK offered the Harrier aircraft and assets to these nations. A declared intent from the US Government to purchase the majority of Harrier assets meant that sale to commercial enterprises was not explored. Interest in the Harrier aircraft was received from two non-MOU countries but detailed discussions did not take place.

The value of the sale was established by negotiation following market analysis taking into consideration the net book value of the assets. Further allowance was made for the UK not providing any forms of warranty, guarantee or indemnity for the state, condition, accuracy, fitness for purpose, quality or standard of any of the Harrier assets or documentation.

The sale price of Harrier assets to the US Government did not include Intellectual Property Rights.

Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how long a delay in delivery has been caused by ordering C rather than B variant joint combat aircraft. [83809]

Peter Luff: There has been no delay to the delivery of our operational test and evaluation aircraft and we will receive our first UK aircraft in May 2012.

Due to the incremental procurement strategy we are yet to place orders for production aircraft.


Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what period elapsed between the initial gate decision and full operational capability in respect of each Royal Navy (a) surface vessel and (b) submarine commissioned in the last 10 years. [84577]

Peter Luff: Initial gate approvals and declaration of full operating capability are given on a class basis rather than by individual vessel and the relevant dates are listed in the following table. Initial gate is approval to undertake development and evaluation of options within an assessment phase to determine which best meets the requirement. Full operating capability is when the full

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planned military capability is delivered, which is usually some time after the last ship in the class has been commissioned. The concept of initial gate was introduced in 1998 following the strategic defence review, so those classes of vessel which had been approved before then did not undergo such a process. The information provided is for each of the classes of Royal Naval surface vessel and submarine for which one or more vessels has been commissioned within the period 1 December 2001 to 30 November 2011.

Vessel class Date of initial gate Date of full operating capability for class

Astute Class submarines(1)



Type 45 destroyers(2)



Type 23 frigates(1)



River Class(3)



HMS Clyde(4)



HMS Protector(4)



HMS Albion/Bulwark(1)



Sandown Class(1)



HMS Echo/Enterprise



(1) The Department did not have an initial gate approval point when these programmes were initiated. For Type 23 the first frigate (HMS Norfolk) was laid down in 1985 and the last frigate (HMS St Albans) was commissioned in 2002. For the Astute programme, the Department considers the equivalent date to be 1991, and for HMS Albion/Bulwark 1991 and for the Sandown Class 1994. (2) The Type 45 programme was initially part of the Common New Generation Frigate (CNGF) project with France and Italy. The Type 45 programme was established when the UK withdrew from the CNGF element of the tripartite collaborative project. The Type 45 programme therefore went straight to main gate in August 2000. (3) An initial gate decision was not made for the River Class as the vessels were proposed by the shipbuilder Vosper Thorneycroft UK through an unsolicited bid. The Department placed a contract for the lease and support of the River Class in 2001. (4) HMS Clyde and Protector are non-complex vessels acquired through commercial lease arrangements, thus the period between initial gate and full operational capability is much shorter than for the other projects. (5) Not yet achieved.

Public Bodies Bill (HL) 2010-12

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what discussions (a) he, (b) his predecessor and (c) Ministers in his Department have had with the Royal British Legion on the Public Bodies Bill; [84961]

(2) what discussions he and Ministers in his Department have had with colleagues in the Ministry of Justice on the Public Bodies Bill and the Office of the Chief Coroner. [84384]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 5 December 2011]: The Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), has had no recent discussions with ministerial colleagues on the Public Bodies Bill and the

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office of the Chief Coroner. The Chief Coroner post is entirely a matter for the Ministry of Justice, although we have provided assistance with regard to the impact on military bereaved families and have engaged with both the Ministry of Justice and Cabinet Office on this matter.

The Royal British Legion has made public its position on the Public Bodies Bill on many occasions and has referred to it in contacts with Defence Ministers and officials, but this is not a matter on which the Ministry of Defence takes the lead.

Sea King Helicopters

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the likely cost of extending the life of the Search and Rescue Sea King helicopters for (a) two, (b) five and (c) 10 years. [84370]

Peter Luff: The following table shows the estimated capital investment necessary to extend the life of the Ministry of Defence's Search and Rescue Sea Kings beyond their planned retirement. This is forecast to commence in 2015 and will conclude by March 2016.

Estimated costs for extending life of SAR Sea Kings beyond 2016
Number of years £ million







These costs are for extending the life of the airframe only, and do not include the costs for providing aircrew and maintainers, supporting the aircrew training system, including simulators, and providing associated management arrangements, all of which are to be provided by the contractor under arrangements announced by the Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Justine Greening), on 28 November 2011, Official Report, columns 52-53WS. These costs also exclude the costs of actually operating and flying the aircraft. It should be noted that while Sea King helicopters could be run on, their older design and age means that their capability in terms of time to reach incidents and availability would remain lower than more modern helicopters, regardless of investment.

World War II: Medals

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to encourage former Bevin Boys to apply for the Bevin Boys Veterans Badge. [85372]

Mr Robathan: The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is the sponsor of the badge, and the Ministry of Defence issues the badge on their behalf. Full details of the badge, the eligibility criteria and the application process can be found on both the DECC and Veterans UK website.