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Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what timetable was set for the completion of the reports of the two studies announced by his Department in the last 12 months into the existence of a causal link between exposure to nuclear testing and veterans illnesses. 
Mr. Kevan Jones:
The studies which I announced on 21 April 2009, Official Report, column 6WS, were not designed to investigate the possible existence of a causal link between exposure to nuclear testing and veterans illnesses, but to investigate the health needs of nuclear
veterans. My officials have been meeting with representatives from the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association to agree the principles of this project. Expressions of interest have been invited from the academic community.
Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department will compensate Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Council of the Western Isles) for the money it spent supporting a taskforce to oppose the proposed plans to downgrade the Hebrides missile ranges. 
Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much the Government spent on its consultation over plans to downgrade the missile range and its associated sites on the Western Isles. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: The consultation on the proposed changes at the Hebrides Range was conducted as part of normal departmental business and it is therefore, not possible to provide a figure. The only discrete costs that can be identified relate to travel and subsistence expenses incurred by the MOD as a result of visits to the range in support of the consultation process. These costs amount to less than £2,000.
Bill Rammell: As at 29 October, the Ministry of Defence possesses 46 Chinook helicopters. Of these, 28 are in the Forward Fleet which is used for both operational purposes and for training. I cannot break this figure down as to do so would, or would be likely to, prejudice the operational security of our armed forces.
However, I can confirm that all Chinooks routinely used for training are based at RAF Odiham. There are no Chinooks retained overseas for training purposes, although they may from time to time take part in overseas training exercises. Of the remaining 18 Chinooks, 10 are currently undergoing Depth Maintenance and eight are being converted into a Support Helicopter role.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether HMS Prince of Wales will be classified as an aircraft carrier or a helicopter and commando carrier; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: The MOD placed a contract with the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA) for the manufacture of two Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers, and we remain fully committed to the project. Both HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales are classified as Aircraft Carriers.
In addition to their primary role as aircraft carriers, the QE Class will provide a legitimate secondary role as an LPH platform when HMS Ocean is in refit, making the QE Class a versatile defence asset. This secondary role has always been a planning assumption of the QE Class.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when (a) HMS Queen Elizabeth and (b) HMS Prince of Wales are expected to join the fleet; and what (i) types and (ii) quantities of each type of aircraft are to be carried on each. 
The Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers will be capable of supporting a tailored Joint Force Air Group of up to 40 aircraft each. This will mainly comprise the Joint Strike Fighter, but will also include Merlin and Sea King Helicopters, depending on the nature of the tasks and the operating environment. Prior to the entry into service of the Joint Strike Fighter, it is intended that the primary fixed wing aircraft will be the Harrier GR9.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for how long HMS Vanguard was non-operational following her recent collision at sea; what the (a) cost of repair and (b) extent of the resultant damage was; and how long the repair work took. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: Repairs to HMS Vanguard, following her collision with FS Le Triomphant earlier this year, were carried out at Her Majestys Naval Base Clyde under existing support arrangements with Babcock costing approximately £1 million.
A seven week package of work was undertaken, which included both repairs and planned maintenance. While the work package was completed, HMS Vanguard remained available at the required notice to support the operational programme. I am withholding information about any damage sustained by HMS Vanguard on the grounds of national security.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel who have served in the Iraq war are from (a) England, (b) the North East and (c) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency. 
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he plans to reply to the correspondence of 7 July 2009 from the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead sent on behalf of a constituent; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service veterans' medals for those who have served a minimum of (a) one, (b) four and (c) five years have been issued in each of the last 10 years; and at what cost. 
Mr. Kevan Jones: We do not record the award, issue, and cost of medals in this format. Medals are only issued for campaigns and war. Any multiple tours to these theatres are recognised by the award of the Accumulated Campaign Service Medal.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 24 April 2008, Official Report, column 2178W, on military exercises: nuclear weapons, on what dates the next joint US-UK nuclear weapon accident exercise will be held; and where it will be held. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The next joint US-UK nuclear weapon accident exercise will be held on 12-13 May 2010. This will comprise of a Field Training exercise on 12 May 2009 at Sculthorpe Training Ground followed by a Table Top exercise on 13 May 2009 at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth:
The 2006 White Paper (Cm 6994) said that if it is technically possible to deliver Continuous At Sea Deterrence, the policy of having one nuclear-armed submarine on patrol at all times, with three submarines then we would do so. The Prime Minister has asked for
a report on this by the end of the year. The UK remains committed to Continuous At Sea Deterrence which is the backbone of our deterrence posture, ensuring a credible and capable deterrent against blackmail and acts of aggression against the UK's vital interests including her NATO allies by nuclear-armed opponents. Continuous At Sea Deterrence is the UK's most enduring current operation and has been successfully delivered for over 40 years by our dedicated service personnel.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) names, (b) dates and (c) locations are of the nuclear weapons emergency exercises being organised by his Department in (i) 2009 and (ii) 2010. 
Bill Rammell: The Royal Navy has two frigates and a Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker deployed to the region. As part of their deployment they spend time off the coast of Somalia contributing to international counter piracy operations. Some 580 Royal Naval Service personnel are currently aboard these vessels.
|Royal Navy Ships|
|(1) To date|
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Territorial Army (TA) units there are in Scotland; how many members are in each such unit; how many members of TA units based in Scotland (a) have been deployed to (i) Afghanistan and (ii) Iraq in each of the last five years and (b) have received military medals. 
|TA Unit||Number of members|
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