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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for Wednesday 30 January 2013

Australia

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he had with his Australian counterpart regarding co-operation over mutual design work for the Type 26 Global Combat Ship. [139900]

Mr Dunne: During his recent visit to Australia, the Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), held a series of highly productive discussions with his Australian counterpart. A number of areas of potential cooperation were discussed, including that of future frigate programmes. Defence officials are examining the feasibility of specific areas of co-operation, including on the Type 26 Global Combat Ship programme.

Warships

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether there will be any production gaps between (a) the completion of the main build work on the Astute-class submarines and the beginning of the main build work on the Trident successor submarines and (b) the completion of the main build work on the Future aircraft carriers and the beginning of the main build work on the Type 26 frigates; what plans he has to prevent the loss of skills and specialist workers during any such gaps; and if he will make a statement. [136182]

Mr Dunne[holding answer 14 January 2013]: The Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) intention is to deliver the Astute and Successor submarine programmes in a manner that ensures the long-term sustainability of the UK submarine industry. The MOD is working with its three principal industrial partners within the Submarine Enterprise (BAE Systems Maritime—Submarines, Babcock Marine and Rolls-Royce) to develop an efficient, coherent and sustainable submarine programme, which will provide a seamless transition between the Astute and Successor submarine programmes. How best to transition from the peak workload resulting from the Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) Aircraft Carrier build programme to the more sustainable drumbeat of the Type 26 Global Combat Ship (T26 GCS) build programme is challenging. The MOD is engaged in detailed discussions with BAE Systems Maritime—Naval Ships, the MOD’s industrial partner for designated complex warship design, build and elements of support work under the terms of business agreement signed in 2009, to address any potential workload gap between the drawdown of the QEC programme and the start of build work on the planned T26 GCS once the design has been matured and the Main Gate approved. These discussions are exploring a number of options about how best to deliver the future shipbuilding programme at the lowest cost to the defence enterprise, and in a way that sustains key skills.

House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for Tuesday 29 January 2013

Afghanistan

Mr David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans his Department has for the UK’s fleet of Reaper drones when their current deployment in Afghanistan is complete in 2014. [139558]

Mr Robathan[holding answer 25 January 2013]: The Reaper unmanned system was purchased as an urgent operational requirement for an armed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability for Operation Herrick. It will continue to be operated in support of UK ground forces in Afghanistan until the end of combat operations. No decisions have been taken on the longer term use of Reaper equipment after 2014.

Air Force

Mr Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department has taken to retain pilot training programmes through the development of additional pilot training contracts with other states; and if he will make a statement. [139602]

Mr Robathan: The requirement for trained pilots is being met within existing flying training programmes without the development of additional training programmes with other states. However, to maintain specialist skills: the Royal Navy, in partnership with the US Navy, have

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