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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

10 Aug 11. Defence Committee. Select Committee ORAL EVIDENCE: The Military Covenant in action?
Part 1: military casualties
Wednesday 7 September 2011
Committee Room 8, Palace of Westminster (room subject to change)
Witnesses: At 2.30 pm
* Sue Freeth, Director of Health and Welfare, and
* Kevin Shinkwin, Head of Public Affairs, Royal British Legion
* Bryn Parry OBE, Chief Executive Officer, Help for Heroes
* Jerome Church MBE, General Secretary, British Limbless Ex Service Men’s Association (BLESMA)

10 Aug 11. Defence Committee. Select Committee ORAL EVIDENCE:
The Military Covenant in action?
Part 1: military casualties
Wednesday 14 September 2011
Committee Room 8, Palace of Westminster (room subject to change)
Witnesses: At 2.30 pm
* The Rt Hon Andrew Robathan MP, Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans
* The Rt Hon Simon Burns MP, Minister of State for Health, Department of Health

House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for Friday 11 August 2011

Aircraft Carriers

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of when the first Future Carrier will be operational; and when it will be able to deploy fast jet aircraft from its deck. [66915]
Nick Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence by what date he expects the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers to be equipped with

Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. [67316]

Peter Luff: The date that the operational Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier enters service with the Royal Navy will depend on which ship will be converted to operate the carrier variant Joint Strike Fighter. This in turn will inform when fast jets will be deployed from the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. We expect firm decisions to be taken on carrier conversion in late 2012 and it remains our intent to deliver a carrier strike capability from around 2020.

Nick Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether planned adjustments to the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers will make them compatible with French Rafale aircraft. [67315]

Peter Luff: The conversion of the operational Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier will allow the more capable carrier variant Joint Strike Fighter to be operated. The change in aircraft launch and recovery equipment will offer improved levels of interoperability with our allies’ aircraft, including the French Rafale. Further work on interoperability will be undertaken as part of our conversion investigations, which are expected to conclude in late 2012.

Armed Forces: Gurkhas

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration he has given to equalising continuation of services rights for Gurkhas serving in the armed forces; and what discussions he has had on this matter with representatives of Gurkha and former Gurkha groups. [66842]

Nick Harvey: None, because following implementation of the 2007 review of Gurkha Terms and Conditions of Service (TACOS), Gurkhas have served on the same TACOS as the rest of the British Army, including the regulations applying to continuance of service. A survey of the views of serving members of the Brigade of Gurkhas was conducted during the course of the 2007 Gurkha TACOS review. There was also wide consultation among organisations representing the ex-Gurkha community.

Challenger Weapons

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what plans he has to upgrade the Challenger weapons system; [67320]
(2) what assessment he has made of the future of the Challenger weapons system.

Peter Luff: The Challenger 2 main battle tank provides the Army’s principal organic precision direct fire capability. The strategic defence and security review set out an enduring requirement for this capability in the future. The Challenger 2 capability sustainment programme is currently in the concept phase. We expect to take a decision on the assessment phase around the middle of the decade.

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