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Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many indirect fire attacks have been made against Basra Air Station in each month since October 2007. (196602)

The number of indirect fire attacks against the Contingency Operating Base in Basra in each month since October 2007 can be found in the following table:

Month

Attack

2007

October

9

November

11

December

12

2008

January

24

February

13

March

27

April

4

May

1

The figures for 2008 include attacks up to 22 May 2008. More than one rocket may have been fired in any individual attack.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) gallantry and meritorious service medals of each type and (b) campaign medals have been awarded to members of the Territorial Army in respect of their service in Iraq and Afghanistan; and how many members of the Territorial Army have received campaign medals for service in both countries. (206380)

The number of gallantry and meritorious medals of each type awarded to members of the Territorial Army is given in the following tables.

Gallantry award

Iraq

Afghanistan

Military Cross

2

1

Queen’s Gallantry Medal

1

0

Queen’s Commendation for Bravery

1

0

Mention in Despatches

6

1

Meritorious service

Iraq

Afghanistan

Member of the Order of the British Empire

4

1

Officer of the Order of the British Empire

0

1

Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service

15

1

Royal Red Cross 1st Class

1

0

The total number of campaign medals issued to both regular and reserve personnel for service in Iraq and Afghanistan as at 23 May 2008 is as follows:

Number

Iraq

114,467

Afghanistan

52,222

Information on the number of campaign medals issued to members of the Territorial Army alone, and on personnel who have been awarded campaign medals for both theatres, is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much it costs frontline troops in (a) Afghanistan and (b) Iraq to top-up telephone time by (i) 20, (ii) 30, (iii) 45 and (iv) 90 minutes during on-peak periods; and what hours constitute (A) on-peak and (B) off-peak talk time for armed forces personnel in (1) Afghanistan and (2) Iraq. (206912)

Service personnel deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq are entitled to 30 minutes of free telephone time per week. It is not possible to provide a specific figure in terms of top-up costs as this varies considerably dependent on which country and which telecommunications provider within a country is being called. In all, there are 381 different call cost rates for some 140 countries advertised in telephone cabins etc. in the Afghanistan and Iraq theatres of which 21 rates apply to the UK. These are broken down between British Telecom rates and the various mobile network providers. However, if a call to a British Telecom line is used as an example, the charge is 11p per minute to make a call from a telephone cabin satellite phone. It will therefore cost £2.20 for 20 minutes of call time; £3.30 for 30 minutes of call time; £4.95 for 45 minutes of call time; and £9.90 for 90 minutes of call time. Personnel calling from an Iridium satellite telephone will pay £17.80 for 20 minutes; £26.70 for 30 minutes; £40.08 for 45 minutes; and £80.10 for 90 minutes. Personnel calling from an INMARSAT system will pay £23.40 for 20 minutes; £35.10 for 30 minutes; £52.65 for 45 minutes; and £105.30 for 90 minutes. Iridium and INMARSAT charges are set by 3rd party satellite services providers and not by the MOD communications contractor. Steps are being taken to migrate welfare users off these tariffs and on to a rate comparable to a telephone cabin. There are no peak rate times for personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan as all calls are charged as listed regardless of the time of day.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the costs of the UK military presence in Iraq were in each year since 2003. (207709)

The costs of operations are calculated on a net additional basis and audited figures are published each year in the MOD’s annual report and accounts. The total annual costs of operations in Iraq for the years 2002-03 to 2006-07 were as follows:

£ million

2002-03

Operations in Iraq

629

Expenditure on Capital equipment

218

Total

847

2003-04

Operations in Iraq

1,051

Expenditure on Capital equipment

260

Total

1,311

2004-05

Operations in Iraq

747

Expenditure on Capital equipment

163

Total

910

2005-06

Operations in Iraq

798

Expenditure on Capital equipment

160

Total

958

2006-07

Operations in Iraq

787

Expenditure on Capital equipment

169

Total

956

An estimated cost of £1,648 million for 2007-08 was included in the spring supplementary estimates published in February. Final costs for the year, following an audit by the National Audit Office, will be published in the MOD’s annual report and accounts in July.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer of 12 May 2008, Official Report, columns 1311-13W, on Iraq: peacekeeping operations, whether the Answer (a) is based solely on the headquarters element of each battalion listed and (b) includes the deployment of subordinate units down to the (i) company and (ii) platoon from each battalion listed. (207846)

The information provided assumed that a unit deployment consisted of a regimental headquarters and more than two sub units (i.e. a company, or equivalent) deploying for four months or more. This is consistent with the methodology applied to the measurement of operational tour intervals.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many weapons caches found in Basra Province since 1 January 2007 contained munitions originating from Iran. (208158)

This information is not held in the format requested. However, there is good reason to believe that a significant proportion of the equipment and armaments being used by insurgents against UK forces in Basra Province is of Iranian origin or has been transited through Iran.