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Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will allow service personnel who were unable to sign up to the Enhanced Learning Credit scheme due to operational service to sign up to the scheme with retrospective effect. 
Mr. Kevan Jones: Where the reason for non-registration is as a result of their service in an operational theatre, members are already able to submit an application for consideration. If it is accepted to be beyond the individual's control then retrospective registration will be given.
Mr. Kevan Jones: To be eligible to participate in the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme, service personnel must register for scheme membership either on enlistment or on the anniversary of their 8th year of service.
For service personnel who were serving prior to 1 April 2003, registration had to be completed by 1 April 2004. Where for service reasons they could not, applications can be submitted for retrospective registration.
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on hotel accommodation for (a) Ministers, (b) special advisers and (c) civil servants in each of the last five years. 
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) for how many nights hotel rooms were booked by (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) the armed forces in each year since 2007; 
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much (a) his Department, (b) its
agencies and (c) the armed forces have spent on hotel costs other than accommodation in each year since 2007. 
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) the armed forces paid in fees to third-party agents in relation to booking hotel accommodation in each year since 2007. 
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which brigade forms the Joint Rapid Reaction Force (JRRF); whether it is presently fully equipped; whether the present JRRF is deployed; and when the future JRRF will take over from the present JRRF. 
Bill Rammell: The Army commitment to the Joint Rapid Reaction Force (JRRF) was originally centred on the Spearhead Land Element (SLE), the lead Airborne Task Force (ABTF) and the High Readiness Mechanised or Armoured Brigade. In February 2008, due to the deployment of 16 Air Assault Brigade to Afghanistan, the ABTF was replaced by the Small Scale Focused Intervention Battlegroup (SSFI BG). Due to our commitment to prioritise operations in Afghanistan, the ABTF has not yet been re-established. Instead the land elements of the JRRF that are currently held at high readiness are the Spearhead Land Element (SLE) and Small Scale Contingent Battle Group (SSC BG). The SLE is based on 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment. The SSC BG is provided by 42 Commando, Royal Marines.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) Army, (b) Royal Air Force and (c) Royal Navy (i) fixed wing aircraft and (ii) helicopters are deployed in (A) Iraq and (B) Germany. 
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many aircraft in the UK helicopter fleet are contracted from the private sector; how many of each type; and what the duration of each hire is. 
Mr. Quentin Davies:
The contracts for the contractor owned military registered (COMR) helicopter fleets with UK armed forces are let on the basis of a contracted number of flying hours and availability. The actual
numbers of airframes and specific aircraft types used in the fulfilment of the contract are a matter for the contractor to decide, based on their commercial and technical judgement.
The following table gives the unit that utilises the contracted helicopters, the aircraft type currently provided by the contractor, the number of hours per annum required by the contract and the dates the contract commenced and when it is currently due to expire. Some of the contracts have clauses to provide extensions to that expiry date, subject to the agreement of both parties.
|Unit||Type of aircraft||Flying hours per annum||Contract commenced||Contract expires|
DHFS consists of 705NAS, 660 Squadron AAC, 60(R) Sqn RAF and Central Flying School (Helicopter) all based at RAF Shawbury, Search and Rescue Training Unit at RAF Valley and elements of 668 and 670 Squadrons AAC at Middle Wallop.
|Unit||Type of aircraft||Flying hours per annum||Contract commenced||Contract expires|
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what his most recent assessment is of helicopter availability to the armed forces; what equipment assessment was made in each of the last five years; and what forecast he has made of changes to helicopter availability in the next five years; 
Mr. Quentin Davies: The Department plans its current and future helicopter force on the basis of an assessment of the capability required to achieve military success in a range of military tasks and operational scenarios. For instance our helicopter force is currently required to support: overseas expeditionary operations in Afghanistan, anti-piracy and other maritime operations and support to the civil authorities within the UK. The Royal Navy and RAF Sea King fleets also contribute to the provision of Search and Rescue Capability. A proportion of the fleet is at all times engaged in providing live training to crews, ensuring they are fully prepared for deployment on current operations and contingent tasks.
Our helicopter requirements are kept under constant review. The requirement for helicopter capability on operations is set by the Permanent Joint Headquarters. Our current fleet is meeting the operational requirement but we recognise we can always do more with more, and this is why Secretary of State for Defence, right hon. Bob Ainsworth announced on 15 December 2009 a new Future Rotary Wing Strategy, of which the key element is the procurement of at Chinook helicopters delivering some 40 per cent. more support helicopters suitable for operations in demanding environments such as Afghanistan by 2016. The new strategy will also see the retirement of the whole Sea King fleet by early 2016 allowing the MOD to operate, by around 2022 four broadly equal sized core helicopter fleets of Chinook, Apache, Wildcat and Merlin.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment was made in the best practical environmental options selection study for the Enriched Uranium Project of the merits of the purchase from the US of enriched uranium components for (a) the naval nuclear propulsion programme and (b) the nuclear warhead programme. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth:
A wide range of factors were taken into account in identifying a preferred means of meeting the enriched uranium requirements of the Defence
Nuclear Programme. These included safety, the environment, risk, cost-effectiveness, security of supply and security classification considerations. I am withholding further details for the purpose of safeguarding national security.
Bill Rammell: The airspace issues relating to Project Catara were considered as part of the Strategic Review of RAF Brize Norton, RAF Lyneham and RAF St. Mawgan, the primary outcome of which was a decision to collocate air transport assets at RAF Brize Norton. It was considered that airspace implications did not preclude such a move.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the RAF liaison officer is the commanding officer at (a) RAF Croughton, (b) RAF Barford St. John, (c) RAF Menwith Hill, (d) RAF Fairford, (e) RAF Welford (f) RAF Alconbury, (g) RAF Molesworth, (h) RAF Lakenheath and (i) RAF Mildenhall. 
Bill Rammell: RAF Croughton, RAF Barford St. John, RAF Menwith Hill, RAF Fairford, RAF Welford, RAF Alconbury, RAF Molesworth, RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall are all made available to the United States Visiting Force (USVF). These sites are commanded by a US officer, usually a United States Air Force officer, at colonel rank.
An RAF commander is present at the main USVF sites, at a lower rank, normally squadron leader. The role of the RAF commander is to liaise with the US base commander and act as head of establishment for Ministry of Defence employees. There are no RAF commanders at RAF Barford St. John, RAF Welford and RAF Molesworth as these sites are administered by other USVF sites.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) US forces personnel, (b) US civilians, (c) US contractors, (d) UK military personnel and (e) UK civilians are based at (i) RAF Blenheim Crescent, (ii) RAF Digby and (iii) RAF St. Mawgan; and whether the RAF liaison officer in the commanding officer at each base. 
|Site||MOD civilian personnel||Military personnel|
1. MOD civilian figures are based on headcount. Figures include MOD main industrial (skill zone) and non-industrial staff.
2. The military personnel figures represent the number of service personnel that are stationed at that location. This may differ from the actual number of people working at that location at that time e.g., due to deployments.
|Site||US military||US civilians||US contractors|
|(1 )Denotes a count of zero.|
Numbers are rounded to the nearest 10. Numbers ending in "5" have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.
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