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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS FROM PS2 THE LEADING U.K. GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS COMPANY
Contact: ps2@btinternet.com

DEFENCE
Afghanistan

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what type of armoured patrol vehicles are available to British troops in Afghanistan. [153053]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 5 February 2004]: There are currently 10 SAXON light armoured personnel carriers deployed with British Forces in Kabul.

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future plans for an expanded NATO peacekeeping mission in Northern Afghanistan; and what the British involvement will be. [154757]

Mr. Ingram: The United Kingdom strongly supports the further expansion beyond Kabul of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) under NATO, and will play its full part in helping the Alliance to make that goal a reality. In particular, and subject to the agreement of our partners in NATO and the ISAF, we are ready to build upon the success of our Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Mazar-e-Sharif and play a leading role in expanding the ISAF in Northern Afghanistan. Final decisions on the nature of our future military commitment to the ISAF will depend on the outcome of NATO operational planning, and agreement with our partners in the ISAF.

Aircraft Carriers

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which aircraft carriers he plans to have available for service in 2014. [154668]

Mr. Ingram: On current plans, the first of the larger and more capable CVF class of aircraft carriers will be in service in 2014.

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if it remains his policy that the Invincible Class carriers shall remain in service until replaced by the new aircraft carriers. [154669]

Mr. Ingram: The Royal Navy Invincible Class carriers (CVS) will be replaced as part of a phased replacement programme by the larger and more capable carriers (CVF) in the first half of the next decade.

Apache Helicopters

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many Apache helicopters are in use at RAF Shawbury; [153969]
(2) how many Apache helicopters are in storage at RAF Shawbury; and what their value is; [153970]
(3) for how long Apache helicopters have been in storage at RAF Shawbury; [153971]
(4) whether the Apache helicopters at RAF Shawbury have been paid for. [153972]

Mr. Ingram: Storage of Apache Mkl aircraft at RAF Shawbury commenced in June 2002. There are now 25 aircraft at RAF Shawbury with a value of £27 million each that have been accepted and paid for. Each Apache in storage is fully maintained and supported but is not used operationally or for training purposes from RAF Shawbury.

Challenger II Tanks

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Challenger II tanks are currently operational. [152606]

Mr. Ingram: As at January 2004, 58 per cent. of our Challenger II Main Battle Tanks available for operations were classed as ‘Fit’. Equipment is deemed to be ‘Fit’ if it meets the inspection criteria stated in the relevant Army Equipment Support Publication Inspections Standards for all operational and peacetime legal and safety requirements. Many of the tanks classified as not ‘Fit’ require only minor work in terms of spares or labour to rectify the problem, and many of these would be able to undertake their prescribed role in an operational environment.

Defence Exports (UK Employment)

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment his Department has made of the York University study estimating the impact on UK employment of the Government’s promotion of export sales of defence equipment; [153764]

(2) what estimate he has made of the increase in UK employment attributable to the Government’s promotion of export sales of defence equipment. [153765]

Mr. Ingram: In an assessment undertaken in Dec

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