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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for Thursday 17 January 2013

Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft

Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what sum is payable to the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft consortium in order to access air-to-air refuelling rights for aircraft that chose to use buddy tanks. [137640]

Mr Dunne: Under the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft contract, Air Tanker will increasingly meet all of the RAF’s air-to-air refuelling needs. The RAF has no requirement to undertake air-to-air refuelling using the “buddy-buddy” concept and hence no liability would arise.

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information his Department has received on (a) delays and (b) the risk of delays to the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft programme since May 2010. [137747]

Mr Dunne: The Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft project, known in service as the Voyager, is on schedule to achieve its In Service Date (ISD) of May 2014. Risks are routinely monitored and mitigated. Risks to the introduction of air-to-air refuelling and to the delivery of specific aircraft are being successfully addressed and the ISD remains on track.

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what meetings (a) he, (b) Ministers and (c) officials of his Department have had on (i) delays and (ii) risks of delays to the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft programme since May 2010. [137748]

Mr Dunne: The Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft project, known in service as the Voyager, is on schedule to achieve its in-service-date of May 2014. The aircraft was granted a military release to service in the Air Transport role in April 2012 and while some technical issues on the air-to-air refuelling system have needed further work, tests have proved successful and the aircraft is expected to start air-to-air refuelling later this year. The original schedule for the Voyager project included margin to allow for resolution of such issues and hence the in-service-date of May 2014 is not currently at risk. The Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), and Ministers have been personally engaged in ensuring satisfactory progress on this key programme, which is governed at the official level through a quarterly Joint Board with Industry, informed by subordinate forums to manage the various elements of the programme on a more frequent basis. House of Commons Hansard

Guided Weapons

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to his meeting with his French counterpart in November 2012, when he expects to meet his French counterpart to discuss the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon Heavy; and what his estimate is of the likely delay before any new guided missile can be deployed. [137721]
Mr Dunne: The Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), communicates regularly with the French Defence Minister on a range of issues. The In-Service date of the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (Heavy) will be confirmed later this year.

Major Projects Review Board

Sir Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the current status is of the Major Projects Review Board. [137404]
Mr Dunne: The Major Projects Review Board was established in June 2011 to ensure that the most significant Ministry of Defence projects keep to the cost and time parameters agreed by the Department’s Investment Approvals Committee and HM Treasury at the major investment decision point. The board continues to meet on a regular basis.

Mali

Mr Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when contingency planning began for potential deployment in support of French forces in Mali in (a) his Department and (b) Permanent Joint Headquarters. [137698]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence, including Permanent Joint Headquarters at Northwood, began contingency planning fo

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