PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS FROM PS2 THE UK’S LEADING GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS ORGANISATION
Gulf Veterans’ Illnesses
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Ivor Caplin): As part of the Government’s commitment to investigate 1990–91 Gulf veterans’ illnesses issues openly and honestly and to learn lessons of the past, the Ministry of Defence has today published the paper “The 1990–91 Gulf Conflict Health and Personnel Related Lessons Identified”. The purpose of the paper is to focus on the health and personnel related issues resulting from the First Gulf Conflict (Operation GRANBY), with the key aim of learning from the problems identified. In producing the paper, we have attempted to be as open and forthright as possible in examining the health problems experienced by serving personnel, veterans and civilians since the First Gulf Conflict.
The paper identifies what the Ministry of Defence has already done to improve procedures and assesses how these have been applied to the current Iraq deployment (Operation TELIC). It also indicates where improvements are still required. In making these assessments it has been acknowledged that during operations it is not always possible to achieve the ideal situation; inevitably, in the heat of battle there will always be some things that do not go as intended. The aim of this paper is not to seek to attribute blame but to identify how the Ministry of Defence can do better in future. I am today placing copies of the paper in the Library of the House and it is also being placed on the Ministry of Defence website at: www.mod.uk/issues/gulfwar.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on progress with the A400M procurement; and how many countries have expressed interest in purchasing the aircraft. 
Mr. Ingram: A contract for the development and production of the A400M aircraft was signed with Airbus Military (AM) on 27 May 2003 on behalf of the partner nations. The UK off-take is 25 aircraft out of a total 180. The contract milestones are being achieved.
The participating nations within the programme are Germany, France, Turkey, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg and United Kingdom. Portugal and Italy participated during the preparation stage but withdrew before MOU/Contact signature. While a number of other countries are potential customers for A400M, none of them have expressed formal interest.
Air Depth Maintenance
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the consultation period on the future locations of air depth maintenance support announced on 16 September expires. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 4 November 2004]: The Trade Union consultation period on the preferred way ahead on End-to-End Logistics Air Depth Support ended on 27 October.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which US companies have been invited to bid for (a) management and (b) construction work on the project for the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers since the appointment of BAE Systems and Thales to lead the project. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 28 October 2004]: Since the start of the Future Aircraft Carrier (CVF) Assessment Phase in 1999, and the subsequent announcement of the alliancing strategy in January 2003, both BAE Systems and Thales UK have involved a number of US companies, including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon. As part of implementing the alliance strategy, we are currently running a competition to select the company best placed to fulfil the role of physical integrator (PI). The PI would be expected to provide a management role to co-ordinate the ship building aspects of the carriers, which will be acquired in line with the current Government policy of building warships for the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom. Six companies were invited to submit proposals including Bechtel and KBR, an operating segment of the Halliburton Co