HC Deb 26 March 2003 vol 402 cc218-9W
Mr. Hancock

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Halo Mk2 will be ready for use in war in Iraq; how the re-engineered hardware and new software for the Mk2 will improve its capability; how much the improvements have cost; whether this was within original estimates; and if he will make a statement. [104226]

Mr. Ingram

The Halo Mk2 sound ranging system, procured to meet the Army's Advanced Sound Ranging Programme requirement, is deployed with British Forces in the Gulf. The Mk2 system is more capable than the Mk1 in a number of ways, including: improved accuracy in locating potential targets; a faster response time and more robust hardware. The cost of this programme was around £17 million which was within the original approval limit.

Mr. Drew

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK forces and which regiments have been sent to the Gulf. [104610]

Mr. Ingram

[holding answer 24 March 2003]: Around 45,000 United Kingdom Servicemen and women from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and Royal Air Force have been deployed in the Gulf and Middle East region. Statements regarding the composition of the UK Forces deployed to the region were made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 7 January 2003, Official Report, columns 23–39, 20 January 2003, Official Report, columns 34–35, 6 February 2003, Official Report, columns 455–66 and 13 March 2003, Official Report, column 20WS.

The composition of the Land Forces was described in my letter D/Min(AF)/AI PQ 1093N/03/C of February 2003, in response to a written Parliamentary Question from the hon. Member for North Essex (Mr. Jenkin), Official Report, column 860W, regarding UK military forces' Gulf deployment, a copy of which was placed in the Library of the House. Since this time, the 1st Battalion The Duke of Wellington's Regiment and 202 Field Hospital (Volunteer) have been added to the complement.

Mr. Caton

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures are in place to enable British armed forces to provide humanitarian aid to Iraq if the situation is too insecure for civilian agencies to operate. [104875]

Mr. Ingram

United Kingdom forces, as part of the coalition, will, where they are able, deliver emergency humanitarian assistance to the people of Iraq until the post-conflict security situation stabilises sufficiently for civilian agencies to deploy. Such assistance would include provision of drinking water, food, shelter, and medical supplies. Preparations for this role have taken place with the assistance of experts from the Department for International Development.