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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

House of Commons and House of Lords Hansard Written Answers

Asked by Sir Edward Davey

(Kingston and Surbiton)

Asked on: 29 June 2020

Ministry of Defence

Voyager Aircraft

65913

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 23 June 2020 to Question 61411 on Voyager Aircraft; what effect the new livery will have on the number of refuelling missions the aircraft will be able to undertake.

A

Answered by: Jeremy Quin

Answered on: 02 July 2020

The new livery will have no effect on the number of refuelling missions the Voyager aircraft can take. Air-to-Air refuelling (AAR) remains the primary role of the aircraft when it is not being used for VIP travel. The aircraft has demonstrated this already and has undertaken routine AAR missions since returning from repaint.

Q

Asked by Mr Khalid Mahmood

(Birmingham, Perry Barr)

[N]

Asked on: 29 June 2020

Ministry of Defence

Body Armour: Females

65944

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans he has to procure anatomically specific body armour for female service personnel.

A

Answered by: Jeremy Quin

Answered on: 02 July 2020

Our VIRTUS body armour has eight different sizes of Scalable Tactical Vest and three for the frame. It can therefore be configured in a multitude of ways dependent on the size and shape of the wearer.

Studies are continuing which explore further options for body armour that comes in different sizes and shapes in order to optimise the fit and reduce physical burden on all users.

Q

Asked by Stewart Malcolm McDonald

(Glasgow South)

[N]

Asked on: 29 June 2020

Ministry of Defence

Afghanistan: Russia

66105

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what discussions he has had with representatives of the armed forces on reports that the Russian Government allegedly offered to pay bounties to Taliban-linked fighters to kill US and UK troops in Afghanistan.

A

Answered by: James Heappey

Answered on: 02 July 2020

It would not be appropriate to comment on sensitive intelligence matters, but the safety of our Service personnel is of paramount importance to the Ministry of Defence. We take all necessary measures to ensure that our Armed Forces are properly trained, equipped and prepared to face any eventuality. We regularly review our force protection posture and take all necessary steps to mitigate the risks. That is no different in Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defence continues to collaborate with allies and partners, including in the intelligence domain, to fully and robustly respond to the challenges Russia presents. In responding to this malign activity, the UK is a world leader. We led the global effort to expel more than a hundred diplomats from around the world after the Salisbury attack in 2018 and we were the first international partner to deploy a military training team to Ukraine following the illegal annexation of Crimea.

Q

Asked by Mr Kevan Jones

(North Durham)

Asked on: 29 June 2020

Ministry of Defence

Defence: Procurement

65950

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to mitigate the risks of cost increases on his Department’s spending as a result of exchange rate fluctuations.

A

Answered by: Jeremy Quin

Answered on: 02 July 2020

We mitigate the impact of foreign exchange using forward purchase contracts agreed with the Bank of England. This mechanism provides increased budget stability in the forward programme and is not intended to generate gains or savings from the foreign exchange market.

Q

Asked by Mr Kevan Jones

(North Durham)

[N]

Asked on: 29 June 2020

Ministry of Defence

Army: Vehicles

65952

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what his policy is on the future of (a) Mastiff and (b) other legacy Army vehicles.

A

Answered by: Jeremy Quin

Answered on: 02 July 2020

The Army continues to rationalise its legacy vehicle fleets, work commenced in 2017 under the Land Environment Fleet Optimisation Plan. This work has already removed 2,831 vehicles from service and disposed of a number of legacy vehicle fleets. The next strand of this work seeks to remove several further legacy vehicle types from service, including the disposal of the Mastiff, Ridgeback and Wolfhound fleets.

Q

Asked by Marco Longhi

(Dudley North)

Asked on: 23 June 2020

Ministry of Defence

Ministry of Defence: Procurement

63514

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans he has to prioritise British firms in the procurement of goods and services to increase employment and growth as the covid-19 lockdown eases.

A

Answered by: Jeremy Quin

Answered on: 30 June 2020

Our intention is always to secure the best capability for the Armed Forces at best value for money for the taxpayer.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) recognises the vital contribution the UK defence industry makes to our prosperity. In 2018-19 the MOD spent £19.2 billion with UK industry and commerce, directly supporting 119,000 jobs across the country and indirectly supporting many thousands more. Our UK supply chain has a wide regional footprint and supports the prosperity of the UK across every region, stimulating high-value, high-skilled jobs. We have launched a number of activities to support the growth and competitiveness of the UK defence sector, including through the defence prosperity programme. More broadly, the MOD is leading a cross-Government review into the UK’s defence and security sectors. This will identify how we can enhance our strategic approach to ensure we have competitive, innovative and world-class defence and security industries that drive investment and prosperity across the Union, now and in the future.

Q

Asked by Mr Kevan Jones

(North Durham)

Asked on: 24 June 2020

Ministry of Defence

Fleet Solid Support Ships: Procurement

64094

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department’s definition of full operating capability for Carrier Strike includes the addition of at least one newly-built fleet solid support ship.

A

Answered by: Jeremy Quin

Answered on: 30 June 2020

No. Under current plans RFA FORT VICTORIA would sail as the task group’s supply vessel.

Q

Asked by Mr Kevan Jones

(North Durham)

[N]

Asked on: 24 June 2020

Ministry of Defence

Navy: Radar

64092

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to mitigate expected delays to developing the initial operating capability for the new airborne radar system on the carrier strike group.

A

Answered by: Jeremy Quin

Answered on: 29 June 2020

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) was informed in early 2019 by industry that there were challenges associated with the development of the mission systems of the airborne radar capability. The programme was re-baselined in the first half of 2019, which included the adoption of an incremental approach to the delivery of the capability to the Royal Navy.

The MOD has worked intensively with its contractors and sub-contractors to monitor the performance of the programme and manage the schedule of remaining activity. New management systems and control measures have been implemented by contractors and additional resources have been assigned. The MOD continues to engage with industry to ensure that all issues are raised and managed at the earliest opportunity to minimise impact to the schedule. The programme remains focused on fielding an initial capability in time to support Carrier Strike Group 21.

Q

Asked by Sir Edward Davey

(Kingston and Surbiton)

Asked on: 18 June 2020

Ministry of Defence

Voyager Aircraft

61405

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what cost benefit analysis has been carried out on the plans to refurbish an RAF Voyager for ministerial travel in the colours of the Union Jack; and if he will make a statement.

A

Answered by: Jeremy Quin

Answered on: 26 June 2020

The VIP Voyager aircraft is already used to fly senior Government Ministers and members of the Royal Family on official business. The decision to re-paint the VIP Voyager aircraft was taken to ensure that the aircraft could better represent and promote the UK around the world with national branding. The new livery will benefit the UK by more clearly promoting Global Britain the world over.

 

 

 

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