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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence
(1) what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of deploying 906 Expeditionary Air Wing at Al Minhad air base;
(2) what (a) assets and (b) munitions are deployed to Al Minhad air base;
(3) how many personnel are deployed to Al Minhad air base as part of (a) the 906 Expeditionary Air Wing and (b) other operations.
906 Expeditionary Air Wing, based at Al Minhad in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), provides support to air transport links between the UK and operations in Afghanistan. The wing has a secondary role supporting RAF aircraft conducting joint exercises in the region such as the RAF's Tornado, Typhoon and E-3D Sentry aircraft which regularly exercise with Gulf Co-operation Council members.
The number of assets and munitions deployed, either for exercises or supporting operations, is constantly changing depending on the activity at the time. There are currently a number of Tornado aircraft deployed to the UAE supporting the biannual advanced tactical leadership course which involves aircrew from Gulf Cooperation Council partners as well as RAF and US personnel. In addition a C-17 aircraft is currently deployed to Al Minhad supporting operations in Afghanistan. There are around 100 UK personnel currently deployed to the UAE on operations, including those at Al Minhad air base as part of 906 Expeditionary Air Wing.
The precise number of personnel fluctuates on a daily basis for a variety of reasons, including mid-tour rest and recuperation, temporary absence for training, evacuation for medical reasons, the roulement of forces, visits and a range of other factors. We do not, therefore, publish actual figures for personnel deployed on operations and the figure above is rounded to the nearest 50 personnel.
The approximate cost for 906 Expeditionary Air Wing is £248,000 per month. This figure will fluctuate due to personnel levels changing and exchange rates varying.