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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

Nov 08. Defence Committee. Evidence Session. Defence Equipment.
Tuesday 18 November 2008
At 10.30 am in the Grimond Room, Portcullis House (room subject to change), oral evidence will be taken from:
o Mike Turner, Chairman of the Defence Industries Council
o Ian Godden, Secretary to the Defence Industries Council and Chief Executive of the Society of British Aerospace Companies
o Dr Sandy Wilson, Chairman of the Defence Manufacturers Association
o Bob Keen, Head of Government Relations, BAE Systems

04 Nov 08. Future Lynx Helicopters: Procurement. The Defence Equipment Minister confirmed (4 Nov 08) that the Future Lynx programme remains on schedule to achieve in-service dates of 2014 (for the Army’s Battlefield Reconnaissance Helicopter) and 2015 (for the RN’s Surface Combatant Maritime Rotorcraft).
Comment: The Procurement Minister announced a £1,000m contract with AgustaWestland on 22 Jun 06, for the supply of Future Lynx helicopters. The contract allows for the provision of 70 aircraft, with options for an additional 10. 40 helicopters are destined for the Army Air Corps and 30 for the Fleet Air Arm, with the optional aircraft divided evenly between the two. First flight is expected in November 2009, with production deliveries running from 2011 to 2017. It remains fashionable to speculate about the future of the programme, but such nonsense should be ignored. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0844, 10 Nov 08)

03 Nov 08. Defence Review: Not Planned. The Defence Secretary (28 Oct 08) and the Armed Forces’ Minister (3 Nov 08) both said that there were “no plans for a new Defence Review”. The standard Ministerial response is that: “Defence policy and commitments are kept under continuous review.”.
Comment: The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, as the two main Opposition Parties, consistently plague Ministers with demands for a Defence Review.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0844, 10 Nov 08)

05 Nov 08. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Government Response to Report. The Government Response to the Defence Committee’s Report on The Contribution of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to ISTAR Capability was published (5 Nov 08).
Comment: The Response covers the current use of UAV on Operations as well as discussing the Watchkeeper programme, which is “forecast to be delivered within the approved cost and the planned in-service date”. The Response is available, as HC 1087, for £6:00. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0844, 10 Nov 08)

Nov 08. Below is an excerpt to the MoD’s Response to the Parliament’s Defence Oversight Committee report regarding WATCHKEEPER which explains the cost and schedule delay. The WATCHKEEPER capability will represent significant enhancement over the proven Hermes 450 system in the following main areas:
• Substantial redesign of the existing air vehicle to provide greater payload, structural integrity and ease of maintenance
• Enhancement of EO/IR sensor resolution
• Addition of a SAR/GMTI radar sensor
• Addition of a Laser designator/rangefinder
• Redesign of the undercarriage to allow rough strip operations
• Addition of an Automatic Take-Off and Landing (ATOL) system
• Secure UK datalink and communications infrastructure
• De-icing system for improved survivability and operating envelope
• Integral expeditionary and mobile capability
• Organic training facility
• UK airworthiness qualification and Release To Service for UK training
• UK logistic infrastructure, manufacturing and repair facility

House of Lords Written Answers for 11 November 2008

RAF: Aircraft Carriers

Lord Moonie asked Her Majesty’s Government: How many Typhoon aircraft have been delivered to the Royal Air Force; how many flying hours have been achieved on them; and what is the availability of such aircraft in service. [HL5882]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor
of Bolton): As at 27 Oct

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