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Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what reports he has received on recent conflict in the Myanishen district of Kandahar province; whether the Taliban is in control of this district; and if he will make a statement. [145100]

Des Browne: Myanishen district centre is under Afghan Government control after a short period of Taliban occupation.

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many helicopters are
dedicated for medical lift in Afghanistan. [145197]

Des Browne [holding answer 25 June 2007]: The UK does not fit helicopters specifically for the medical role but rather has dedicated and fully equipped specialist medical teams that can use any helicopter. There is always a helicopter available to deploy these teams in an emergency. In addition UK forces have access to the medical evacuation capabilities of ISAF and coalition partners in Afghanistan.

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made
of the average time for medical evacuations in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan.

Des Browne [holding answer 25 June 2007]: The time taken to give treatment to wounded soldiers is more relevant than evacuation time as some life saving treatment can be delivered before an evacuation takes place. The Department is undertaking an audit on the time taken to deliver treatment in accordance with
UK and NATO guidelines which are as follows:
Battlefield advanced trauma life support within one hour of injury.
Damage control surgery should be started within two hours of injury.
Primary surgery should be started within four hours of injury.

I will write to the hon. Member once the result of this audit is available and
place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the capacity of medical facilities and supplies in Afghanistan to respond to an event with significant numbers of casualties. [145199]

Des Browne [holding answer 25 June 2007]: The medical planning undertaken by UK forces has put in place appropriate procedures and sufficient resources in Afghanistan to handle incidents producing significant numbers of casualties.

Armed Forces: Future Aircraft Carrier

Lord Chidgey asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What assessment has been made of the importance of the future aircraft carrier programme to the defence industrial strategy in terms of maintaining a core strategic capability to design, build and provide through life support for such complex warships; and What assessment has been made of the extent to which future work streams in United Kingdom shipyards for naval vessels systems and propulsion unit designs are reliant on the advancement of the future aircraft carrier programme.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence & Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Drayson): We expect current and planned programmes, including the future aircraft carrier programme, to ensure the retention of key skills and capabilities in the UK maritime industry in the short to medium term. The defence industrial strategy defined the key maritime industrial skills and capabilities we need to retain on shore to support the needs of the Royal Navy in the longer term. We are therefore working with the shipbuilding industry to agree the core workload required to sustain these high-end design, systems engineering and combat systems integration skills across the maritime sector.

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty’s Government: How they require the maritime industry to consolidate before an announcement on the future carrier is made; what discussions they have had with the VT Group and BAE Systems on this consolidation; what progress industry has made to date; and how they have responded to this progress. [HL4644]

Lord Drayson: The defence industrial strategy is clear that we expect

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