ON THIS DAY
House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 29 Feb 2008
Armoured Fighting Vehicles
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 18 February 2008, Official Report, on armoured fighting vehicles, how the internal space requirement for the Panther vehicle compares with the Cheetah vehicle; and what the minimum space requirement is. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: For Panther the original Iveco vehicle has five seats, which is reduced to either four or three, depending on the specific Bowman radio installation. In the event of Panther being deployed on operations, there would be a requirement to fit a suite of force protection measures. These can be accommodated in a ‘pod’ at the back of the vehicle, rather than in the main crew
Cheetah has six seats, which would reduce to either five or four, depending on the specific Bowman installation. Cheetah lacks the additional equipment stowage area at the back of the vehicle which means that additional force protection equipment would have to be accommodated inside the crew compartment, potentially reducing the available crew space further. Regarding the minimum space requirements for the protected patrol vehicle programme, for which the Cheetah vehicle was previously considered, I am withholding the information as its disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.
Defence Equipment: Vehicles
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects an order to be placed with Force Protection Inc for the additional 140 Mastiff/Cougar vehicles. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: We have already ordered the additional Mastiff vehicles and negotiations are ongoing with the US Department of Defence and the manufacturer to agree the precise delivery schedule.
House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 03 Mar 2008
Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for
the future number of attack submarines in the Royal Navy. 
Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for
the future of attack submarines for the Royal Navy. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Our judgment remains that in the medium term, a fleet of
eight of the current classes of attack submarine will be sufficient to meet the
full range of tasks. By 2022 we will have completed the transition to the more
capable Astute class, for which it remains our plan to order seven boats. Over
the next 14 years, attack submarine numbers will fluctuate between seven and
eight as Astute replaces the current classes.
Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when army training will start on the Watchkeeper unmanned aerial vehicle; and where in the UK it
will take place. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: We plan to begin classroom based training for the Watchkeeper
programme in September next year at Larkhill, and live flying in March 2010 at
Parc Aberporth in West Wales.
Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made on future orders for the surface fleet of the Royal Navy; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: We continue to make good progress on the future orders for the surface fleet of the Royal Navy. We have committed to ordering two new aircraft carriers and have placed orders for six Type 45 destroyers. It is our intention, in addition, to deliver replacement vessels in the future for Type 22 and 23 frigates, and elements of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 04 Mar 2008
Afghanistan: Armed Forces
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) size and (b)
capability is of the (i) Afghan National Army and (ii) Afghan National Police.
Des Browne: The Afghan Nati