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Aircraft Carriers: Procurement

Volume 464: debated on Monday 8 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence where the new aircraft carriers will be based. (154020)

I refer the hon. Member to the statement I made on 25 July 2007, Official Report, column 871, in which I confirmed that the new aircraft carriers are to be base-ported in Portsmouth.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will ensure that any cooperation with France in order to reduce costs will not result in a delay for the introduction of the new aircraft carriers. (154021)

We have always made it clear that for cooperation with France to work it must deliver cost savings and must do so without delaying the UK or French carrier programmes.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many type 45 destroyers will be procured in order to provide escort security to the UK's new aircraft carriers. (154048)

Several types of vessels will provide escort and security for the aircraft carriers, and the numbers employed will vary according to the threat faced. There are many variables involved in determining the number of ships required to defend a carrier or amphibious task group. These include the level of the threat, the level of multinational involvement and the type and scale of the operation. We currently have a contract for six type 45 destroyers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the expected cost is of each of the future aircraft carriers. (154395)

The project to provide two future aircraft carriers is currently expected to cost £3.9 billion. There is agreement and a scheme of incentives, however, to work with industry to reduce this before a final price is settled by 2010.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reasons the former target in-service dates of 2012 and 2015 have been replaced by 2014 and 2016 respectively for each of the future aircraft carriers. (154396)

In-service dates are not set until Main Gate, when the project is mature enough for us to take a view on the appropriate date. That point was reached in July and the dates (2014 and 2016) have been set.