§ Mr. Gregory
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he plans next to deploy a Royal Navy task group beyond the NATO area.
§ Mr. Ian Stewart
I am glad to say that we plan to deploy a Royal Navy task group to the far east, Australia and Indian ocean area, leaving the United Kingdom in June. The group, which will be led by HMS Ark Royal, will represent the Royal Navy at the fleet review in Sydney to celebrate the Australian bicentenary. It will spend some six months on deployment, before returning to the United Kingdom in December. Detailed planning of the deployment is still in progress. Further details, including visits to particular countries by ships of the group, will be announced in due course.