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Exercises

Volume 124: debated on Monday 14 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on British military participation in exercise Caltrop Tyro, held in California from 15 to 18 November; and what were the troop numbers and costs involved.

Exercise Caltrop Tyro was a command post exercise (CPX) which took place in California in November to test procedures and inter-operability between units of the British, American, Canadian and Australian armies. Some 150 British service men took part, and the United States Government paid all the costs arising there.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the purpose of the Anglo-American military training exercises held on Pontrilas, Herefordshire, and Blair Atholl, Tayside, in June, with particular reference to the relevance to military activities in the Gulf.

A joint exercise with United States forces took place from 20 to 29 June at a number of locations in the United Kingdom. The exercise was designed to foster the development of joint skills and techniques. The exercise was not linked to current military activities in the Gulf.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what are the criteria used in deciding the specific dates for exercises Eastern Shield, Capital Guard, Drakes Drum, Autumn Tiger, North Crusade, Western Encounter, Triple Crown and Strong Link; why it was decided not to hold these exercises on a single date; if observers will be present at these exercises, under the Stockholm agreement; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will make a statement on the major home defence exercises to be held in Britain in September-October 1988;

(3) how many personnel performing the role of Soviet Spetsnaz troops will participate in the major home defence exercises to be held in September-October 1988.

Between September and November 1988 there are to be nine district military home defence exercises in military districts in Britain. Each will be a separate exercise of at least five days duration, and under the independent command of the appropriate GOC. The timing of these exercises has been arranged to take account of the availability of regular and TA manpower in each district, and also of the need to maximise military home defence training whilst minimising disruption to other activities. The exercises are designed to test progress in military home defence planning since Exercise Brave Defender in 1985. Details of the scenarios are classified.On current plans, the numbers involved mean that we are not required to notify or invite observers to these exercises under the terms of the Stockholm agreement.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration was given to postponing exercise Purple Warrior following indications of high levels of radiation in south-west Scotland.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace) on 3 December 1987 at column 712.