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27 Jan 2003 : Column 636W—continued

Defence Reviews

Mr. Jenkin : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on defence reviews; and what further defence reviews are planned for the armed forces. [91038]

Mr. Hoon: The Government published the results of its comprehensive Strategic Defence Review (Cm 3999) in 1998. Following the events of 11 September 2001 we launched work to ensure that our defence policies, capabilities and force structures matched the new challenges we faced. The conclusions of this work were published in the SDR New Chapter (Cm 5566) in July 2002.

In announcing the publication of the new Chapter and the allocation of increased resources to defence in the Spending Review, I said that this provided a "mandate for accelerating the modernisation and evolution of the Armed Forces" Official Report, column 462. The capabilities and force structures of the Armed Forces must continue to evolve in the direction set by the New Chapter. I intend to publish a Defence White Paper later this year. This will provide an updated statement of Defence policy and explain in detail our plans for modernising the delivery of enhanced defence capability.

Departmental Buildings

Mr. Bacon : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the professional fees were to each payee for the redevelopment of his Department's main building, broken down by (a) his Department and (b) the PFI contractor. [93403]

Mr. Ingram: The total professional fees (excluding VAT) paid by the Ministry of Defence to each payee to date are as follows:

Total professional fees (excluding VAT) paid by the Ministry of Defence to each payee to date

IBM Business Consulting Services (formerly Pricewaterhouse Coopers)Financial Advice and Management/Administration Team5.62million
DEGWArchitects and Space Planningl.51million
Waterman PartnershipsStructured Engineers0.47million
Bernard Williams AssociatesCost Consultants and Facility Management Specialists0.47
DTZTown Planners0.18
Roger Preston and PartnersMechanical, Electrical Engineers, IT Infrastructure0.64
Bovis Program ManagementConstruction and Programming0.65million
Herbert SmithLegal Advice2.12million

Fees paid by the PFI Contractor are a matter for Modus Services plc (the PFI contractor).


Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria were applied in selecting areas of airspace suitable for testing the Eurofighter; what consultation was carried out with local communities; and what steps he is taking to monitor nuisance caused by test flights. [91153]

Mr. Ingram: The Eurofighter aircraft requires large areas of airspace in which to train. Following a review of current allocation of air space, the National Air Traffic Control Services and the Ministry of Defence have therefore agreed to redesignate airspace over the North Sea. Three large managed areas have been designated which, when required, may be "booked" and used for military training. Only the most northerly designated training area covers any land, and within this area all flights will be conducted above 24,500ft. Under Government guidelines public consultation regarding the use of airspace is not required except where flight takes place below 7,000ft.

The conduct of military flying is taken extremely seriously and any complaints are thoroughly investigated by the Ministry of Defence. Particular rules govern supersonic flight and these will continue to be strictly enforced.

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European Procurement Projects

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress has been made to help deliver major European collaborative procurement projects on schedule. [93175]

Mr. Ingram: We remain committed to maximising the benefits that can be derived from collaborative defence equipment programmes. The smart acquisition initiative stresses the need to predict and plan against those issues that have the potential to cause delay. This aims to ensure that risks and opportunities are addressed before we commit to new co-operative programmes. More generally, the development of the international agency OCCAR continues to be an important part of our aim to provide an effective route for the management of defence equipment collaborative programmes.

Exercises and Operational Deployments

Mr. Keetch : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which (a) exercises and (b) operational deployments were undertaken during (i) 2001, (ii) 2002 and (iii) 2003 by (A) HQ3 Commando Brigade, (B) 40 Commando Royal Marines and (C) 42 Commando Royal Marines; and if he will make a statement. [92798]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 23 January 2003]: In 2001, HQ 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines took part in Exercises, ROLLING DEEP, JMC 01, ARGONAUT 01 and SAIF SAREEA 2 and were operationally deployed to Kosovo. 40 Commando Royal Marines took part in Exercises DRUIDS DANCE, ROLLING DEEP, ARGONAUT 01 and SAIF SAREEA 2 and were operationally deployed to Afghanistan. 42 Commando Royal Marines took part in the WINTER Deployment, Exercises TARTAN RELIEF, FASTBALL and BLACKHORSE and were operationally deployed to Sierra Leone.

In 2002, 40 Cdo who took part in Exercise BLACKHORSE were operationally deployed to Afghanistan, as were HQ 3 Cdo Bde RM. 42 Cdo RM were operationally deployed to Northern Ireland.

Currently 40 Cdo are deployed with Naval Task Group 03 and will undertake training exercises in the Eastern Mediterranean. There have been no operational deployments in 2003.

HMS Ocean (Helicopters)

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many helicopters, of which type, are aboard HMS Ocean. [92664]

Mr. Ingram: As at 20 January 2003 the following helicopters aboard HMS Ocean were:

Sea King HC Mk410
Lynx AH Mk 76
Gazelle AH Mkl6

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HMS Sussex

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how he plans to safeguard the archaeological integrity of HMS Sussex. [93176]

Dr. Moonie: The project has been developed on the basis of archaeological best practice in deep water condition. An Independent Monitoring Panel of archaeologists, with the participation of English Heritage, has been set up to review the Project Plan. The agreement with the contractor provides for official observers to be present during the whole exploration and recovery process at sea and to oversee the arrangements and standards of conservation work ashore.

Military Clothing

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what stocks his Department holds of (a) desert boots, (b) desert clothing and (c) Combat 95 clothing; and if he will make a statement. [92136]

Mr. Ingram: As at 17 January 2003 we held, in central stocks: 16,300 pairs of desert combat boots; 30,800 pairs of desert trousers and 24,000 desert jackets; and 262,986 lightweight jackets, 399,902 pairs of combat trousers and 220,877 field jackets.

Information on unit level holdings of these items is not held centrally. Contracts have been placed to ensure the supply of sufficient desert boots, desert jackets and desert trousers. Our normal requirement is to hold sufficient stocks of desert boots and clothing to kit to scale the Joint Rapid Reaction Force.


Mr. Wray : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on progress made since 1997 in (a) making British forces more mobile and (b) increasing their ability to contribute to international peace and security. [91855]

Mr. Hoon: The Strategic Defence Review recognised that conflict prevention, peace support, and crisis management require a powerful force that is capable of immediate and, if necessary, sustained operations. It established the concept of Joint Rapid Reaction Forces to provide more capable, more deployable, and better supported Joint Forces. The initial operating capability was achieved in 1999, and elements have been deployed successfully both on operations and exercises. 16 Air Assault brigade, also formed in 1999, combines airborne and air mobile assets with, in the future, the new attack helicopter, and provides a further significant enhancement to our tactical mobility.

In addition, the lease of four C17 aircraft in 2001, followed by the introduction of the A400M at the end of the decade, the procurement of a new Strategic Sealift Service of six RoRo vessels through a PFI-type contract in 2000, the provision of an interim strategic sealift capability through commercial charters until this new service is fully available (currently expected to be late this year); and the ordering of four new Bay class Landing Ship Dock (Auxiliary)s expected to enter

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service before the end of 2005, all represent a significant enhancement to the current and future mobility of our Armed Forces.

The ability of the United Kingdom's Armed Forces to contribute to international peace and security has consistently been demonstrated throughout the period since 1997, most recently in peace support operations in Sierra Leone and in Afghanistan.

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