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The Seedcorn initiative exists to sustain the UK’s capability to operate fixed wing Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) and maintain the associated skills of its personnel, should the UK wish to regenerate the capability. The estimated cost of the initiative on average is £2.4 million per year for the next five years; this includes salary and allowances.

UK aircrew are on exchange with a variety of allied forces where they are operating alongside our allies on-board front line maritime patrol aircraft in order to maintain their anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, long-range search and rescue and ISTAR skills.

The update comes from written answers in Hansard on the 9th of November.

Asked by Douglas Chapman:

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many service personnel who took part in the Seedcorn Initiative from 2011 to 2015 and are still currently serving were based on 1 November 2015 in (a) the UK, (b) the US and (c) elsewhere.
Answered by: Penny Mordaunt
Thirty Six Service personnel have taken part in the Seedcorn Initiative, and they are all still serving. The information below shows their locations on 1 November 2015.
United Kingdom 4, United States 22, New Zealand 4, Australia 2, Canada 3, Iraq 1

Further fuelling the speculation, in a report on Future Maritime Surveillance, the House of Commons Defence Committee noted that the UK has a strategic requirement for maritime surveillance on a world-wide basis, for both military and non-military purposes. It stated that it had serious concerns regarding the MPA capability gap and its impact on the UK’s ability to undertake the military tasks envisaged by SDSR 2010.

In his evidence to the same Committee in October of last year, the Secretary of State for Defence stated that SDSR 2015 would need to consider the MPA capability in detail, considering whether ‘based on our experience since 2010 of managing this risk – largely by working with allies – it is a capability that we need to regenerate and, if so, how we would most efficiently regenerate it.

 

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