§ Dr. David Clark
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Tornado aircraft based at RAF Coningsby were grounded last year for checks after sand was found in the fuel bowsers; what was the cause of this damage; who was responsible for this damage; which company has the contract to maintain the Tornado aircraft at RAF Coningsby; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Soames
Twenty-eight Tornado aircraft were grounded as a precaution when a routine check discovered that fuel in a bowser had been contaminated with grit. The contamination was due to residue remaining after a grit blasting technique had been used to remove the lining from part of a bulk fuel installation. The investigation into the responsibility for this contamination is still under way. The majority of the maintenance of Tornado aircraft at RAF Coningsby is carried out by service personnel; very occasionally, some tasks are undertaken by contractors.