House of Lords Written Answers for Monday 05 November 2012
Armed Forces: Aircraft
Asked by Lord West of Spithead: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether any decision has been made on enabling the continuation of the Commando Helicopter Force via the Merlin Life Sustainment Programme.[HL2858]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Merlin Mk 3/3A is being transferred to the Royal Navy’s Commando Helicopter Force to replace the Sea King Mk 4. Activity to enable the transfer has already begun. The department is exploring options to optimise the aircraft for ships and address obsolescence issues on the Merlin Mk 3/3A as part of the assessment phase for the Merlin Life Sustainment Programme.
House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for Monday 05 November 2012
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of civilians affected by unmanned aerial vehicle strikes in Afghanistan. 
Mr Robathan: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the then Minister for the Armed Forces, the hon. Member for North Devon (Sir Nick Harvey), on 13 September 2011, Official Report, column 1153W, to the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas)
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what definition his Department uses of the term civilian in respect of UK operations in Afghanistan. 
Mr Robathan: There is no single definition of a civilian in use in respect of UK operations in Afghanistan. However, the law of armed conflict makes a distinction between combatants, who take part in fighting and non-combatants, who do not and must be protected as far as possible from its effects.
Armed Forces: Recruitment
Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of school leavers entered the armed forces in each of the last five years. 
Mr Francois[holding answer 26 October 2012]: The information relating to number of entrants joining the armed forces directly from school is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Armed Forces: Redundancy
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he plans to take to encourage those who have been made redundant recently from the armed forces to join the reserves. 
Mr Francois[holding answer 26 October 2012]: All three services are working to make it as quick and easy as possible for individuals leaving the regular forces to join the reserves, including those who leave under redundancy terms. This includes simplifying administrative processes, examining the use of incentives and ensuring coherent communications so individuals who are leaving the regular forces are aware of the opportunities that exist in the reserves.
Armed Forces: Retirement
Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which three and four-star personnel have retired from the armed forces since May 2010. 
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many senior military personnel have retired from the armed forces since May 2010; who they were; and how many meetings each such person has held with Ministers or senior civil servants in his Department since their retirement. 
Mr Francois: During the period 1 May 2010 to 1 October 2012, there were 24 three and four-star armed forces personnel who have retired or left the services for other reasons. The information concerning meetings with Ministers or senior civil servants since their departure is not held in the format requested, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Three and four-star officers who have retired between 1 May 2010 to 1 October 2012 are as follows:
Royal Navy: Admiral Trevor Soar; Vice-Admiral Richard Ibbotson; Vice-Admiral Timothy Laurence; Vice-Admiral Paul Lambert; Vice-Admiral Peter Wilkinson; Vice-Admiral Alan Massey; Vi