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Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements he has made to destroy the stockpiles of cluster munition shells 155mm HE M483 in the second half of 2007, as stated in March 2006. 
The disposal of the 155mm HE M483 began in late 2004 and is continuing. A contract was let under the NATO Maintenance Supply Agency in conjunction with the Dutch Ministry of Defence and
awarded to an Italian company, Esplodenti Sabino. Under current plans, the final disposal will be completed in autumn 2007.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of the RBL755 cluster bombs dropped during Operation Allied Force were dropped in (a) Kosovo, (b) Serbia, (c) Montenegro and (d) Albania. 
Mr. Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what provision has been made to replace assets lost as a result of (a) damage and destruction during operations and (b) reduced service life due to increased use. 
Mr. Ingram: We do not make financial provision in anticipation of damage to or destruction of equipment during operations. Where possible, damaged equipment is restored, drawing on funding from the Treasury Reserve as appropriate. Equipment which has been destroyed may also be replaced through a call on the Reserve, though in some cases we may choose to restore the capability rather than seek a like-for-like replacement.
We continue to monitor whether the current high operational tempo is likely to result in a reduced service life for some equipment, and will take appropriate resource allocation decisions if this proves to be the case.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for which future projects his Department is considering a private finance initiative deal; what the estimated lifetime value of each potential contract is; and what period each will cover. 
|Project name||Estimated contract length (years)|
I am withholding details of the estimated lifetime value of each potential contract. The information would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial
interests of the Department as these projects are still subject to continuing negotiations with their preferred bidder.
The Department is also considering the use of the private finance initiative for a joint project with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Search and Rescue Helicopter project. The estimated capital value of this project is £400 million with an estimated contract length of 25 years.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what he expects the total cost of repairs to HMS Grimsby to be; what her current status is; when he expects her to become operational; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 7 March 2007]: It is not possible to identify separately the repair costs for HMS Grimsby as these have been combined with upkeep costs as part of her Ships Support Period Contract. The combined value, however, of both the repair and upkeep work for the vessel is some £3.7 million. The work is progressing well and HMS Grimsby is on schedule to return to operational service in February 2008.
Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which (a) RAF and (b) Army Air Corps aircraft and helicopters have been fitted with the Successor Identification Friend or Foe System; and what plans he has to fit systems to those which have not. 
TriStar C Mk 2/2a
BAe 125, BAe 146
Nirnrod R Mk 1
Islander AL Mk 1
Islander CC Mk 2
Islander CC Mk 2a
Dominie T Mkl
Hawk, Tornado GR4
Harrier GR9, Harrier T12
Tornado F3 (also fitted with interrogator)
Chinook Mk 2/2a
Lynx Mk 7
Lynx Mk 9.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions his Department had with the Colombian Defence Minister during his recent visit on (a) UK and (b) EU support for Plan Colombia, part II; and if he will make a statement. 
Des Browne: Both I and the Minister of State for the Armed Forces in separate meetings discussed the current security situation in Colombia, progress on human rights within the Colombian armed forces, and UK-Colombia security co-operation with Minister Santos during his recent visit. The EU support for Plan Colombia, part II, was not raised.
Mr. Ingram: Ambulance cover at both HMNB Clyde and HMS Raleigh is provided by the relevant local ambulance service (the Scottish Ambulance Service and the South Western Ambulance Service respectively). At both bases this cover is augmented by local on-site ambulances.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the additional costs are of (a) maintaining and protecting continuous at sea deterrence and (b) keeping a submarine-based nuclear force without continuous at sea deterrence. 
Des Browne: As paragraphs 5-7 and 5-8 of the White Paper: The Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent (Cm 6994) make clear, our policy is to maintain continuous at sea deterrent patrolling to ensure our deterrent remains fully credible. There would, theoretically, be a number of alternative postures to continuous patrolling but we do not regard them as providing credible deterrence. However, for a given size of fleet, the cost difference between maintaining continuous deterrent patrolling and not doing so would potentially be relatively minor since the costs directly associated with operating the submarine on patrol are a very small proportion of the overall costs of maintaining, supporting and operating the deterrent. Total expenditure on the capital and running costs of the Trident nuclear deterrent, including the costs of the Atomic Weapons Establishment, in 2006-07 is expected to be around £1,500 million.
Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will delay a decision to replace Trident to allow time for a more thorough strategic analysis of the issues and for a wider public debate. 
The White Paper set out fully why we believe it is necessary for the UK to retain a minimum independent nuclear deterrent, and why decisions are needed now if we are to maintain deterrent capability at the end of the lives of the Vanguard class submarines. I also covered these issues in detail in my evidence to the Defence Committee on 6 February.
In setting out the Governments position on 4 December 2006, Official Report, columns 21-24, the Prime Minister also set out a timetable for a process of public and parliamentary debate. As part of this process, my ministerial colleagues and I have been discussing the future deterrent in a wide range of forums. For example, there has been a full debate in the House of Lords, and I have given a speech at Kings College, London; provided the Defence Committee with wide-ranging evidence; taken part in a televised debate with CND; and discussed the future deterrent with a panel of experts at RUSI. On 14 March, at the conclusion of this process, there will be a full debate and vote in the House of Commons. This has given plenty of opportunity for all to consider and debate the issues.
Des Browne: The Government are strongly committed to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which is the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The White Paper on the Future of the United Kingdoms Nuclear Deterrent published on 4 December 2006 (Cm 6994) makes clear that renewing our minimum nuclear deterrent capability is fully consistent with all our international obligations, including those under the NPT.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average annual in-service cost of the UK's nuclear deterrent, including the Atomic Weapons Establishment, was in each year from 1998 to 2005, calculated using the method applied to calculate the in-service costs quoted in paragraph 5 to14 of the White Paper on the Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent. 
Des Browne: As set out in paragraph 5 to 14 of the White Paper on the Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent (Cm 6994), we estimate that the in-service costs of the UK's nuclear deterrent will be around 5 to 6 per cent. of the defence budget once the proposed fleet of replacement SSBNs comes into service. This calcution is based on initial whole life estimates of in-service and disposal costs for the deterrent capability and the estimated costs of the Atomic Weapons Establishment, averaged over the currently expected life of the new submarines and compared to the current defence budget. Taking similar costs for the current system, from 1998 to 2005, and comparing them to the actual defence budgets for those years, the average annual in-service cost was around 4 per cent. of the defence budget. The cost of the deterrent in 2006-07, including the cost of the Atomic Weapons Establishment, is expected to be around £1,500 million, or just over five per cent of the current defence budget.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria were adopted in deciding the number of (a) warheads, (b) missiles and (c) submarine launch platforms required to provide for a minimum nuclear deterrent. 
Des Browne: I refer the hon. Member to my written ministerial statement of today publishing the Ministry of Defences initial response to the Defence Select Committees report on the White Paper. The Future of the United Kingdoms Nuclear Deterrent (Cm 6994, published December 2006).
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what factors were taken into account in identifying the United Kingdoms vital national interests in the White Paper on the future of the United Kingdoms nuclear deterrent Cm 6994. 
Our focus is on preventing nuclear attack. The UKs nuclear weapons are not designed for use during military conflict but instead to deter and prevent nuclear blackmail and acts of aggression against our vital interests that cannot be countered by other means.
It is a key part of our deterrence posture that we retain ambiguity about precisely when, how and at what scale we could contemplate use of our nuclear deterrent. We would only consider using nuclear weapons in self-defenceincluding the defence of our NATO alliesand even then only in extreme circumstances. That has been and will remain our policy.
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 8 March 2007]: As stated in the Defence Industrial Strategy, it is government policy to retain the UK submarine manufacturing and skills base for the foreseeable future as it will be essential to the maintenance of the UKs independent nuclear deterrent. Key to that is the establishment of a design and build programme which balances sustainability requirements with military need and affordability. MOD is working closely with industry to agree such a programme, together with other issues such as collaboration and rationalisation to ensure a viable enterprise well into the future. The Government response to the House of Commons Defence Committees report The Future of the UKs Strategic Nuclear Deterrent: the Manufacturing and Skills Base (HC 59 dated 19 December 2006) provides further information on this issue.
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