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Military Aircraft

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) aircraft, broken down by type and (b) tanks were withdrawn from service in each year since 1997. (165066)

The following table provides details of the number of main battle tanks withdrawn from service with the armed forces in each year since 1997:

Equipment

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Challenger 1 (CR1 MBT)

0

0

14

74

90

88

96

53

8

3

0

Challenger 2 (CR2 MBT)

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

140

0

¹ 20 CR2 MBT are being used as a source of spares. A further 20 remain in storage pending a disposal decision.

I will write to the hon. Member with the corresponding information for aircraft and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Substantive answer from Bob Ainsworth to Mike Penning:

I undertook to write to you in answer to your Parliamentary Question on 29 November 2007, Official Report, column 580-781W, about the numbers of aircraft, broken down by type that were withdrawn from service each year since 1997. I apologise for the delay in replying.

Information on the numbers of aircraft withdrawn from service in each year is not held centrally in a consistent format. Nevertheless, determined efforts were made to collate available information. This exercise revealed a number of discrepancies in the data and despite a detailed and prolonged analysis, it was not possible to resolve these.

Definitive information is known to exist in the engineering files for individual aircraft; however, to extract this information would require the retrieval from archive and examination of several hundred files and this could be done only at disproportionate cost.

However, I am able to provide information on aircraft withdrawals for 2005-06 and 2006-07. This is shown in the table below.

Aircraft type

2005-06

2006-07

Sea Harrier

8

0

Harrier GR

0

1

Jaguar GR

0

19

Jaguar T

0

1

Canberra T Mk 4

1

0

Tornado GR4

0

1

Tornado F3

25

8

Hercules C-130J

0

1

Hercules C-130K

0

1

Tucano

30

0

Dominie

1

0

Nimrod MR2

0

5

VC-10 C1K

1

0

VC-10 K4

2

0

Puma Mk1

1

0

Gazelle AH1

0

6

Lynx Mk3

1

0

Lynx Mk7

4

4

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) unit cost and (b) in-service date of the (i) Harrier GR3, (ii) Sea Harrier FRS1, (iii) Tornado F3, (iv) Harrier GR5, (v) Jaguar GR1 and (vi) Tornado GR1 was. (218238)

The aircraft listed entered service between the mid-1970s and late 1980s. Because of the long period of time that has since elapsed, the unit cost of these aircraft is no longer centrally recorded and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Official in-service dates are similarly no longer centrally recorded. Such information as is available is provided in the following table:

Aircraft type

Date entered service

Harrier GR3

1976-771

Sea Harrier FRS1

19792

Tornado F3

July 19863

Harrier GR5

1987-891

Jaguar GR1

May 19733

Tornado GR1

January 19824

1 Delivery dates for first tranche of aircraft.

2 First squadron became operational.

3 First aircraft entered service with Operational Conversion Unit.

4 First aircraft entered service with No. 9 Sqn.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which unmanned aerial vehicles in operation or on order have an attack capability; what weapons they are equipped to carry; and how much has been spent to acquire a munitions inventory for such vehicles. (220527)

Reaper is the only unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in operation or on order that has an attack capability. Reaper UAVs are capable of carrying 500 lb laser guided bombs and Hellfire air-to-surface missiles. Reaper’s weapons are being procured from the United States Government through a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) case and the actual costs will depend on operational use.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was spent on research into unmanned aerial vehicles in 2007-08; and how much is budgeted to be spent in 2008-09. (220528)

Approximately £34.7 million was spent on research into unmanned aerial vehicles during 2007-08. I am withholding further details as its release would prejudice commercial interests.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the programme cost of the Watchkeeper unmanned aerial vehicle is represented by (a) research and development, (b) the air vehicle, (c) the sensors package, (d) ground stations and (e) through-life support. (220529)

Information relating to the costs of the Watchkeeper programme is not held in the format requested. Where available, details of the programme costs are as follows:

The Watchkeeper Concept and Assessment Phases (equivalent to the latter stages of research) cost £65 million.

The total cost of Watchkeeper air vehicles (excluding sensors) is £50.99 million.

The total cost of sensors is £30.4 million.

Ground control stations are included in the overall costs of the demonstration and manufacture contract.

I am withholding information on expected costs for through-life support as its release would prejudice commercial interests.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many unmanned aerial vehicles of each type are (a) in service and (b) on order. (220530)

The information requested is shown in the table as follows:

Type of UAV

In-Service

On Order

Desert Hawk III

89

42

Hermes 450

101

0

Watchkeeper

0

54

Reaper

2

1

1 Hermes 450 UAVs are provided by Thales Aerospace under a service provision contract. The contract specifies monthly flying hours rather than numbers of air vehicles but the required service is typically achieved with 10 air vehicles.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the initial operating capability for Watchkeeper is expected to be achieved; and what the definition of that capability is. (220532)

Watchkeeper Initial Operating Capability is expected to be achieved no later than February 2011. The current programme forecast is December 2010. Initial Operating Capability is defined as 'one (Army) sub-unit trained and equipped to support a Medium Scale of Effort deployment'.