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Joint Maritime Communications Centre

Volume 227: debated on Monday 28 June 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the (a) construction costs and (b) operation costs of the Joint Maritime Communications Centre at St. Mawgan for (i) 1991–92, (ii.) 1992–93, (iii) 1993–94, (iv) 1994–95 and (v) 1995–96; what proportion of these costs are paid for the United States and United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.

The construction costs for the Joint Maritime Communications Centre at St Mawgan are:

Years£ million
1991–924·1
1992–9322·0
1993–9435·7
1994–9514·0
1995–961·9
Total operational costs have not yet been fully defined. The division of overall costs is the subject of a confidential arrangement between the two Governments.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the construction of the Joint Maritime Communications Centre to be completed; when he expects it to be operational; what changes have been made to its functions; and if he will make a statement.

Construction of the Joint Maritime Communications Centre is scheduled for completion on 30 September 1994. Equipment installation will follow and the system is expected to be operational during April 1995. There have been no changes to its function.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consultations he has had with local authorities and other statutory bodies concerned about the development of the Joint Maritime Communications Centre at RAF St. Mawgan; what arrangements have been made to conduct an environmental impact assessment of the development; and if he will make a statement.

A notice of proposed development (NOPD) relating to the development of the Joint Maritime Communications Centre at RAF St. Mawgan was submitted to the local planning authority, borough of Restormel, on 8 February 1991. The NOPD was supported by an independent environmental impact assessment commissioned by my Department. Following a period of consultation with other statutory bodies and interested parties, the proposal was considered by the borough of Restormel on 26 March 1991 when no objections were raised.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the arrangements with the United States Government concerning the use and staffing of the Joint Maritime Communications Centre based at RAF St. Mawgan.

My predecessor, my right hon. Friend the Member for Epsom and Ewell (Mr. Hamilton) explained in an answer to the then Member for Cornwall, North (Sir Gerry Neale) on 25 July 1990—Official Report, columns 301–2—that RAF Mawgan is a main operating base for Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft and that in addition my Department was planning to develop a joint maritime communications centre (JMCC) in co-operation with the United States. The unit will provide an important link between United Kingdom and United States maritime forces and headquarters.As my right hon. Friend further explained the JMCC comprises a buried, hardened communications building approximately 70 m square within the existing perimeter of RAF St. Mawgan. It will be integrated with the existing RAF fixed communications system and will include two additional satellite ground terminals each approximately 3 m in diameter, also sited within the station boundary. It has been agreed with the United States that the United Kingdom will finance and construct the JMCC building and that the United States will provide the operational equipment. Once fully operational some 400 personnel will be associated with the JMCC including both operational and support staff. Approximately half of the operational staff will he provided by the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force and the remainder will be from the United States Navy.Since my right hon. Friend's answer, planning permission has been obtained and work on the construction commenced in 1991. It is expected that the JMCC will become operational in 1995.