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Isle Of Wight (Training Area)

Volume 127: debated on Friday 12 February 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many days in the last 12 months for which figures are readily available live ammunition was used by Her Majesty's forces in the Ministry of Defence danger area south of the Isle of Wight.

Figures are not readily available for the last 12 months, but during the six months from 3 August 1987 to 7 February 1988 live ammunition was used by Her Majesty's forces on 66 days in the danger area in question.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many men were trained in the Ministry of Defence danger area south of the Isle of Wight in the last 12 months for which figures are readily available; and what was the total cost of such training exercises.

It is not possible to quantify the benefits arising from these exercises in terms of individual training programmes. However, it may help my right hon. Friend to know that, during the period 3 August 1987 to 7 February 1988, for which records are available, exercise and trials activities in the area referred to amounted to some 530 ship days; and that independent flying activity in the same period totalled some 220 aircraft days. The cost of these activities cannot readily be extracted from the total operating costs of the ships and aircraft concerned.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the maximum height at which practice military targets fly within the Ministry of Defence danger area south of the Isle of Wight; and whether they are only used in good visibility.

The maximum heights for practice military targets used in tracking exercises and target towing exercises are 40,000 ft and 25,000 ft respectively. Good visibility is not necessarily a prerequisite for their use.