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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Unfortunately we still have no further information of the Kuwaiti missing. Once information becomes available and the families involved have been informed, the information will be made public as quickly as possible.
The Parliamentry Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): The Ministry of Defence welcomes publication of the Medical Research Council's review of research into Gulf veterans' illnesses. We are grateful for the work that has gone into the review, which was conducted following a request from the MOD. We have taken particular note of the review's conclusions and recommendations for further research and will study these further in detail. The MOD notes that a number of the recommendations are scientifically complex and will approach the Medical Research Council with a view to holding detailed discussions about how they may be taken forward, the data they are expected to yield and the priorities that should be attached to them. Once this has taken place we will consult veterans and other stakeholders about the way ahead.
Lord Bach: The Successor Identification Friend or Foe (SIFF) system is planned for installation in Tornado GR4 aircraft by early 2004 and in Harrier GR7/9 aircraft, in conjunction with the GR9 upgrade programme, from 2005. It is not planned to fit it to Jaguar.
In providing for the future technical element of land combat identification, we are exploring a battlefield target identification (BTID) capability that will be compatible with NATO allies. These studies continue to make progress and the first formal investment decision (initial gate) is planned next year.
Lord Bach: Combat identification is not delivered by a single system or piece of equipment, but by a combination of tactics and procedures backed up by technology. It would jeopardise operational security to reveal details of the specific equipment fitted to Challenger 2 tanks, Warrior Armoured Vehicles and Scimitar Reconnaissance Vehicles and I am therefore withholding the information under Exemption 1 (Defence, security and international relations) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. I can, however, confirm that the combat identification capability fitted to these vehicles is compatible and comparable with that of the US and is based on NATO standards.
Lord Bach: The Secretary of State for Defence controls nuclear premises, which are excluded from the Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003 (S.I. 2003/403), by means of a Defence Council Directive for the Security of Nuclear Weapons and Special Nuclear Materials. This directive prescribes the minimum mandatory security measures for all defence nuclear materials in storage and transit in Great Britain. I am withholding further details on the directive under Exemption 1a (National security) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. The Ministry of Defence exemption to the Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003 (S.I. 2003/403) was put in place in consultation with the Department of Trade and Industry.
Lord Bach: Key targets have been set for the chief executive of the Naval Manning Agency for the financial year 200304 and are shown below. The targets build upon, and are consistent with, those demanded of the NMA since its vesting in July 1996 and encompass the full range primary outputs demanded of the agency.
Lord Bach: In the Written Statement by my right honourable friend the Defence Secretary (Mr Hoon) on 30 April (Official Report, columns 1516WS) in another place, we announced the call-out of up to 1,200 additional Reservists to support continuing operations within Iraq. This process is currently under way. We also acknowledged that there would be a
In parallel, the process to demobilise those Reservists called up for the first phase of operations continues. To date, we have demobilised around 1,100 Reservists who have completed their required tasks. Further Reservists have returned from operations in Iraq and are currently taking the post-operational tour leave to which they are entitled, following which they will also be demobilised.
There will be a continuing role for our Reserve forces in Iraq, but we expect overall numbers of Reservists required to reduce over time. This further call-out demonstrates our continuing commitment to Iraq and to the Iraqi people. In addition, we continue to plan in detail the withdrawal of forces that have completed their operational tour, and the deployment of further replacement forces to continue to fulfil our responsibilities in Iraq. We will inform the House as soon as these plans become firm. We remain determined to help the Iraqis to set the conditions for Iraq's re-emergence as a country that is both politically secure and economically stable.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: In the two years up to 30 April 2003, the financial penalties for contract failures totalled £6,338 in respect of Hassockfield for failure to deliver specified services; and £156,013 in respect of Medway, of which £150,597 was for places unavailable for use and £5,416 for failure to deliver
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