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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what types of vessels will be built by Swan Hunter and BAE Systems Marine as a result of the Alternative Landing Ships Logistic contract; what time is set for successful completion of the programme; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: The Alternative Landing Ships Logistic (ALSL) are new amphibious landing ships. They are designed to deploy troops, with vehicles and stores, directly into the operational area. They will operate in conjunction with the new landing platform dock ships and the helicopter landing platform. ALSLs will also be suitable for low intensity operations and for humanitarian and disaster relief missions. They will be operated by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and replace the capability provided by current aging landing ships.
The Radiocommunications Agency of the Department of Trade and Industry is responsible for managing the frequency spectrum and levies charges for allocations to all users, including the MOD. Currently, the MOD is charged a standard commercial rate by the Radiocommunications Agency, and pays £22.8 million for the spectrum it is allocated.
Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what expressions of interest in the past three years he has received from foreign navies in respect of the purchase of decommissioned Type 22 frigates; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Moonie: Since the announcement of the disposal of the Royal Navy's now decommissioned Type 22 frigates, HMS Beaver, HMS London, and HMS Boxer in the Strategic Defence Review in July 1998, marketing of the ships to overseas navies to date have elicited expressions of interest of various degrees from at least five nations, a number of which in the case of HMS London are being pursued further. I am withholding details of the sources
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and the strength of these expressions of interest in accordance with Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
Dr. Moonie: All the ships mentioned, HMS London, Boxer, Beaver and Brave, are or will be subject to sales negotiations. I am withholding details of expected sales values under Exemption 7 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with his French counterpart about the application of qualified majority voting to EU (a) foreign policy and (b) defence policy. 
We have always agreed that decisions to launch military crisis management operations must be taken by the member states by consensus. The commitment of UK national assets to any European Union-led crisis management operation will be based on the sovereign decision of the UK Government.
Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost was to DERA of (a) hiring the tanker aircraft from the RAF and (b) the dumped fuel on Friday 3 November in connection with the typhoon tanking trials at Warton; how many litres of fuel were dumped; and where they were dumped. 
Dr. Moonie: There was no cost to DERA for either the aircraft or the fuel. The aircraft was provided as part of Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) and the cost of the fuel will be met by the Defence Procurement Agency (DPA). In all some 40,000 litres of fuel were jettisoned in free airspace over the Irish sea.
Dr. Moonie: Standard pre-flight checks, which identified a number of faults requiring investigation, prevented the Eurofighter development aircraft from taking off at the scheduled time for the tanking trials on 3 November. By the time the faults were rectified the weather conditions, which could affect the sensitive trials instrumentation on the aircraft, were unfavourable and the flight was abandoned. The flight trial was successfully completed a few days later.
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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the (a) total costs and (b) total level of manpower of (i) the Political and Security Committee and (ii) the Military Committee. 
Mr. Hoon: These two bodies, in both their current interim and future permanent forms, consist of national representatives of member states. There are therefore no consolidated figures for the costs or level of manpower of the bodies.
Mr. Hoon: The objective of the European Union in setting the Headline Goal is to ensure the ability of nations to be able to generate forces rapidly in response to a crisis. There will be no standing rapid reaction force entailing an annual cost to public funds.
Mr. Hoon: Decisions on deployment of British troops will continue to be made on the basis of UK national interests, operational circumstances, our Treaty commitments to NATO and our current deployments. The decision to commit troops to an operation under any international organisation, whether it be NATO, OSCE, UN or the EU, will remain a UK Government decision based on the above factors.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria he will apply in determining whether or not a military confrontation is appropriate for crisis management by an EU rapid reaction corps. 
Mr. Hoon: There is no EU rapid reaction corps. Large-scale military confrontation in Europe, particularly when territorial defence of a NATO country may be involved, is, and will remain, a matter for NATO. NATO will also continue to be available to respond to other crisis management needs as its members decide.
The EU's commitment is to develop the ability, where NATO is not engaged, to deploy military forces across the full range of Petersberg tasks. These include humanitarian and rescue tasks; peacekeeping tasks; and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peace making.
Mr. Hoon: There will be no duplication in military structures in Europe. The small military staff being established within the EU will be offset by the winding down of the equivalent staff in the Western European Union.
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Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assurances he has received of increased defence expenditure from his counterparts in (a) France, (b) Germany and (c) Italy in relation to an EU rapid reaction corps. 
Mr. Hoon: The UK does not comment on the spending plans of other nations. We do, however, seek to encourage nations to spend their defence budgets as effectively and efficiently as possible and to target spending on improving military capabilities.
Mr. Hoon: The UK is able to contribute forces to crisis management operations designed to prevent, contain and resolve conflict, in support of international order and humanitarian principles. The most demanding case is peace enforcement and armed forces deployed for this task must be able to exercise their authority and ensure compliance by the use of force if necessary. But this would fall short of "warfighting", which is normally taken to mean high intensity conventional warfare.
Mr. Hoon: There have been no specific recent studies into the relationship between war fighting and failed attempts to manage crises. However, the Ministry of Defence conducts a review of operational lessons from every operation in which the armed forces are involved. In addition, historical and operational analysis are used to support MOD planning.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate his Department has made of the effect on deterring conflicts of the absence of US automatic involvement in crisis management by the EU. 
Mr. Hoon: No state is automatically involved in crisis management, either in NATO or in the EU. Where Europeans and North Americans wish to act together in a military response to a crisis, NATO will remain the most likely framework. Where NATO as a whole is not engaged, the EU might launch an operation. In such a case the EU would expect to have recourse to NATO assets and capabilities, if necessary, as proposed by NATO at its Washington Summit in April 1999.
The availability of a full range of possible responses from the EU and NATO acting in cooperation, as envisaged under the current proposals, should improve our ability both to deter and resolve crises.
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Americans wished to act together. The decision whether or not to use NATO structures for a particular operation would be taken by NATO members in the light of circumstances.
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