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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

21 Nov 13. The Defence Committee published the following Special Report on Thursday 21 November: The Defence Implications of Possible Scottish Independence: Government Response to the Committee’s Sixth Report of Session 2013–14 as its Ninth Special Report of Session 2013–14, HC 839. The Special Report can be viewed here under Responses to Reports from 11 am: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/defence-committee/publications/
Copies may be purchased from The Houses of Parliament Shop (12 Bridge Street, Westminster, London, SW1A 2JX, Tel: 020 7219

House of Lords Written Answers for Tuesday, 19 November 2013.

Defence: Procurement

Asked by Lord Lee of Trafford: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their latest estimated cost of examining the Government-owned, contractor-operated option for defence procurement.[HL3159]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): The Materiel Strategy programme is currently in the Assessment Phase and is considering two options; DE&S+ and a Government Owned Contractor Operated (GOCO) model. The Concept Phase of the programme started in May 2011 and analysed a number of different operating models. It concluded with the approval of the Initial Gate Business Case in April 2013 and cost £12 million. The Assessment Phase is currently developing both DE&S+ and GOCO options.

Drones

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the use of drones for civilian purposes.[HL3328]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): Civilian Remotely Piloted Aircraft operations are closely regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and are treated in the same manner as that of an equivalent manned aircraft; this applies to all aspects of ‘unmanned’ aviation, from the initial design and construction, or airworthiness, through to the safety requirements of how it is flown and operated. This viewpoint is shared internationally. For the smaller sized, lightweight systems, which are referred to as small unmanned aircraft—those which are flown at short range and always within the sight of the person flying them—these are overseen to a lesser extent by the CAA, proportional to the level of risk involved.

House of Lords Written Answers for Monday, 18 November 2013.

Armed Forces: Territorial Army

Asked by Lord Trefgarne: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many personnel have left the Territorial Army in the last 12 months; and how many recruits have been enlisted over the same period.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): My Lords, first, I am sure the whole House will wish to join me in offering sincere condolences to the family and friends of Warrant Officer Class 2 Ian Fisher of 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment, who was killed on operations in Afghanistan recently. My thoughts are also with the wounded and I pay tribute to the courage and fortitude with which they face their rehabilitation. Independent figures published last week show that 4,880 personnel left and 3,250 joined the Army Reserves in the 12 months to 30 September. These pre-date the recruitment campaign that started in September to grow the Army Reserve from a trained strength of 19,000 to 30,000 by 2018, with improved training and equipment. There are IT teething problems, which we are addressing as well as undertaking aggressive action continuously to improve the recruiting process.

Lord Trefgarne (Con): My Lords, I endorse the opening words of my noble friend and add my support to them. With regard to the Question, given the future importance of Reserve Forces in the British line of battle, will he ensure that all vigour is applied to the recruiting campaign and that, in particular, the new terms of service for Reserve Forces are not so onerous as to put people off?

Lord Astor of Hever:

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