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Aviation: Aircraft Carriers

Defence written question – answered on 7th July 2011.

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Photo of Andrew Turner Andrew Turner Conservative, Isle of Wight

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of (a) operating (i) aircraft from Italy and (ii) an aircraft carrier within 20 miles of Libya for (A) one and (B) three months and (b) moving an aircraft carrier from the UK to Libya.

Photo of Nick Harvey Nick Harvey The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

holding answer 17 June 2011

I will write to the hon. Member shortly.

Substantive answer from Nick Harvey to Andrew Turner:

I promised to write to you on 17 June regarding your tabled question in the House about the cost of operating aircraft in support of the UK mission in Libya.

As the Secretary of State reported to the House on 23 June (Official Report, column 24WS), the current estimate of the net additional costs of military operations for six months in support of Operation Ellamy—the United Kingdom's contribution to coalition operations in support of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973—is in the region of £120 million. This excludes costs associated with capital munitions expended. You asked specifically about the costs of operating aircraft from Italy which, I am afraid, can not be broken out separately as the information is not held in that format.

Based upon current consumption rates we estimate the cost of replenishing munitions may be up to £140 million.

You also asked about the cost of moving and operating an aircraft carrier off the coast of Libya. As the UK does not currently maintain a carrier strike capability we have not prepared cost estimates for a hypothetical scenario. Historic costs for the previous capability are not a good guide as it is impossible to know how NATO would have used such a capability if it had been available and offered, whether alongside or instead of the British aircraft currently contributing to the operation. Hence it is impossible to estimate some key cost drivers such as weapons expenditure and flying hours.

I am sorry I cannot be more helpful.

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