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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

Written Statements

Monday 21 May 2007

Armed Forces: Astute Class Submarines

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence(Lord Drayson): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces (Adam Ingram) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am pleased to announce today that the MoD has placed an order with BAE Systems to commence work on the build of the fourth submarine in the Astute class, which
will be known as “Audacious”. The Astute class is the next generation of nuclear-powered attack submarines. The first of class, “Astute”, is on schedule to be launched on 8 June 2007, and is due to enter service in 2009. The Astute class will be the largest, most capable and most widely deployable attack submarines that the Royal Navy has ever operated, and will replace the Swiftsure and Trafalgar classes which have been in service since the 1970s and 1980s respectively. The Astute class will have improved communications systems to support joint operations and an enhanced ability to operate in shallower littoral environments. BAES (submarine solutions) is also responsible for the design and build of the first three boats (“Astute”, “Ambush” and “Artful”).
Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to the attack submarine programme, as set out in the defence industrial strategy. It also demonstrates our commitment to the Royal Navy. These submarines are needed to fulfil duties around the globe. It demonstrates the best of British technology and our determination to develop and transform the UK submarine industry over the coming years.

Exports: Defence

Harry Cohen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what powers are available to enforce (a) UN and (b) EU sanctions on export of goods with military applications to Sudan; what reports he has received of the export of such goods by (i) Dallex Trade and (ii) Land Rover to Sudan; and if he will make a statement. [136815]

John Healey: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is the enforcement authority for export licensing controls on military goods. An exporter attempting to export military goods from the UK to any destination without a valid export licence is committing an offence under Section 68 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) 1979. The provisions of CEMA provide HMRC officers with wide ranging enforcement powers to investigate offences and to seize unlicensed. Should an investigation reveal sufficient evidence of an offence then the case will be referred to the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO). The RCPO will then consider whether to commence criminal proceedings. EU and UN arms embargoes prohibit the export of military goods to Sudan. Military goods are defined as all goods listed in Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Export of Goods, Transfer of Technology and Provision of Technical Assistance (Control) Order 2003. Non-military goods which may have a military application are not subject to export licensing controls and therefore HMRC enforcement powers do not apply.
Section 18 of the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 provides that
HMRC may not disclose information held in connection with a function of HMRC unless there is lawful authority. HMRC is therefore unable to disclose information in relation to specific campaigns.

Armed Forces: Uganda

James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contribution the
UK Government made to the military capacity of the government of Uganda in each of the last five years. [137644]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 15 March 2006, Official
Report, to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. Clegg)
which provides details of military training provided to the Ugandan Peoples
Defence Force up to March 2006. Over the last year, a number of training activities intended to further improve the professionalism of Ugandan soldiers have been taking place. These have included attendance at the Royal College of Defence

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