07 Dec 11. Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR): Report. The Prime Minister presented the First Annual Report on implementation of the 2010 SDSR, as a Written Statement on 7 Dec 11. Key developments during the past year include: agreement on MoD transformation, addressing the £38,000m funding shortfall, completion of a review of the Reserve Forces, establishment of a cyber-security programme and new measures to tackle crime threats to the UK.
Comment: The Prime Minister’s Statement should be read in conjunction with the Defence Committee’s Report on the SDSR and National Security published on 3 Aug 11 as HC 761. A further annual update on the SDSR is to be provided to Parliament in 2012 (presumably towards the end of the year).
07 Dec 11. The Defence Committee will be publishing a report on The Armed Forces Covenant in Action? Part 1: Military Casualties at 00.01 am (BST) on Thursday 15 December. This will be the Committee’s Seventh Report of Session 2010–12 (HC 762). The report will be made available on the Committee’s website, www.parliament.uk/defcom, on Thursday 15 December and copies may be purchased from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge Street, Westminster, London, SW1A 2JX) on the day of release.
House of Lords Written Answers for Thursday 8th December 2011
Armed Forces: Aircraft
Asked by Viscount Waverley
To ask Her Majesty’s Government when it is expected that the last aircraft carrier currently planned will be commissioned; what will be the interim capacity arrangements; and if no interim capacity arrangements are to be put in place, why aircraft carrier capability is considered necessary.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Before the strategic defence and security review (SDSR), the planned in-service dates for HMS “Queen Elizabeth” and HMS “Prince of Wales” were quarter 4 of 2016 and quarter 4 of 2018 respectively. The SDSR called for one operational “Queen Elizabeth”-class carrier to be converted with catapults and arrestor gear to enable it to operate the more capable carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, with the other being held at extended readiness pending a further decision on its future at the next SDSR in 2015. We are currently investigating the optimum solution to meet that requirement including the delivery timescales.
There is a strategic requirement for a future carrier-strike capability. The “Invincible”-class carriers were designed principally to meet Cold War threats on the high seas, with short-range jets providing air defence for a naval task group. It is assessed that expeditionary airpower can be delivered through other means in the short term, but the period after 2020 remains far less certain, which is why the Government have decided that a modern carrier capability will be required to protect the full range of UK strategic interests. This capability will give the UK long-term political flexibility to act without depending, at times of regional tension, on agreement from other countries to use their bases for any mission we want to undertake. It will also give us in-built military flexibility to adapt our approach over the 50 years of the carrier’s working life. In particular, it provides options for a coercive response to crises, as a complement or alternative to ground engagements. It contributes to an overall force structure geared towards helping deter or contain threats from relatively well equipped regional powers, as well as dealing with insurgencies and non-state actors in failing states.
House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for Wednesday 7th December 2011
Lorraine Fullbrook: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of recent export campaigns for the Eurofighter Typhoon; and if he will make a statement.
Peter Luff: There remains strong interest in Typhoon. It has been selected by India to participate in the final phase o