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Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made in theatre of the Jackal M-WMIK vehicle's performance with its unladen weight increased by 42 per cent. (201416)

No formal assessment has yet been made in theatre regarding the performance of Jackal, as it has only very recently been delivered to theatre. We expect to receive initial feedback from theatre commanders on the performance of this vehicle shortly.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many personnel from the Royal Engineers are based in Helmand Province; and what their duties are. (207463)

As of 1 May 2008, there were a total of around 400 Royal Engineer posts established in Helmand province: the actual number deployed at any particular time can and does vary, including through roulements, visits and periods of mid-tour leave.

British military engineers in Helmand are conducting close engineer support (including tasks such as mobility support, counter mobility support, explosive ordnance disposal and search) and general engineer support (such as infrastructure development, construction, geographic support and civil-military co-operation). There are also a number of engineering personnel in Helmand Province who assist in training and mentoring the Afghan National Army.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the maximum weight of cargo able to be carried by all variants of the CH-47 helicopter used by British forces in Afghanistan is. (207540)

The maximum weight of cargo able to be carried by all variants of the CH-47 helicopter used by the British forces in Afghanistan is kept under review to account for changes in environmental conditions, but is currently set at 5,000 kg.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Written Ministerial Statement of 20 May 2008, Official Report, columns 15-18WS, on helicopters on operations, which company provides the new contract for the civilian air transport used by ISAF in southern Afghanistan; on how many occasions UK troops have flown in aircraft so provided; how the contract is funded and what the UK's contribution is; what percentage of the assets used by the contractor to date has been (a) rotary and (b) fixed wing; and if he will make a statement. (207654)

The company providing the new contract is Skylink. UK troops have never flown in the aircraft provided. The contract continues to be funded from NATO common funding and the UK continues to contribute a 12 per cent. share to that funding. Currently all assets used by the contractor have been rotary wing.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the security situation in Helmand Province. (208162)

International Security Assistance Force and Afghan armed forces continue to engage in successful operations against the Taliban in Helmand, pushing them back from populated areas and bringing more of the province under the control of the government of Afghanistan.

Nevertheless, the insurgents continue to pose a threat through improvised explosive devices, suicide bombers and opportunistic attacks.