HC Deb 26 March 2001 vol 365 cc525-6W
Mr. Caton

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) for what purpose Fylingdales was upgraded in 1992; [155103]

(2) what alterations have been (a) undertaken and (b) planned at United Kingdom sites to facilitate a contribution to the US Government's proposed National Missile Defence System; [155144]

(3) what recent discussions there have been between representatives of the United Kingdom and US Governments about the use of sites in Britain as part of the United States proposed National Missile Defence System; [155134]

(4) if the US Administration requested the use of sites in Britain as part of its proposed National Missile Defence System. [155133]

Mr. Hoon

We continue to discuss all aspects of missile defence regularly with the US and others, but we have received no request for the use of sites in the UK as part of a proposed system. Nor have any alterations been undertaken, or currently planned, at sites in the UK for missile defence purposes. The new US administration have not put forward specific proposals on what form any missile defence system might take, so it remains too early to say definitively whether or not alterations at sites in the UK will be proposed as part of such a system.

In the early 1990s, the "golf balls" at RAF Fylingdales were replaced with a new phased array radar because they had become obsolete and difficult to maintain. The function of the site as part of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System did not change, and the replacement was

Consultant speciality Operational and retained task Current manning—consultants including those in command and staff posts Percentage shortfall
Anaesthetists 120 28 77
General Physicians 51 21 59
Dermatology 0 3
Paediatrics 5 2 60
Genito-Urinary Medicine 0 1
Neurology 1 1 0
General Surgeons 44 20 55
Obstetrics and Gynaecology1 3 0 100
Urology 0 2
Orthopaedics 28 11 61
Burns and Plastics 10 3 70
Accident and Emergency 23 3 87
Psychiatrists 35 12 66
Ophthalmics 10 3 70
Oral and Maxillofacial 10 8 20
Ear, Nose and Throat 10 3 70
Rheumatology and Rehabilitation 7 5 29
Radiologists 11 9 18
Pathologists 6 6 0
Chemical Pathology 4 0 100

not related to US missile defence proposals. The Relay Ground Station for the Space Based Infra Red System (SBIRS) currently under construction at RAF Menwith Hill is regarded by the US as necessary regardless of any missile defence proposals and is being pursued as a separate project.