To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are his Department's procurement plans for the ASTOR surveillance system; and if he will state the proposed in-service date. 
Two consortia are currently undertaking parallel project definition studies to identify the most cost-effective procurement option for the ASTOR surveillance system. These studies are expected to be completed by mid-1996. Once these studies have been evaluated, and subject to the necessary approvals, it is the intention to select a prime contractor, through competition, to carry out full development, production and initial in-service support. It is expected that the contract would be let in 1998. The in-service date for the full system is 2003.