My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Bob Ainsworth) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
The House will know that the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force has expanded substantially over the course of the last year and is continuing to grow in size. Air operations in support of the force have become more complex and NATO has identified a need for improved air traffic control.
I have therefore agreed a NATO request to commit two Boeing E3D Sentry aircraft and some 200 personnel from 8 Squadron, Royal Air Force, to fill this role as part of our standing contribution to the NATO Airborne Early Warning And Control Force. The detachment will be based in the Middle East. It is separate from the British deployment in Afghanistan announced by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister on 30 November 2009 (Official Report, col. 835) and the size and structure of the latter will not be affected. On current plans, the detachment should begin to deploy shortly. It will recover to its home base at RAF Waddington by 28 February 2010.