(2) what factors underlay his Department's Project Helix decision to replace three Nimrod R1 aircraft with US RC-135 Rivet Joint Boeing jets instead of procuring the BAE Systems MRA4; what assessment he has made of the future of the BAE Systems Woodford production plant and aerodrome beyond 2012 as a result of his Department's decision; and if he will make a statement;
(3) what estimate he has made of the cost of revamping the R1 fleet in comparison with using the BAE Systems MRA4 platform; and if he will make a statement;
(4) what assessment his Department has made of any operational benefits of the MRA4 replacement option for the Royal Air Force in terms of (a) capability, (b) in-service date and (c) value for money; and if he will make a statement;
(5) what the total cost of the replacement of three 35-year-old Nimrod R1 aircraft based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire with 46-year old US RC-135 Boeings is expected to be; and if he will make a statement;
(6) what factors underlay his Department's decision to procure 46-year-old US RC-135 Boeings to replace three 35-year old Nimrod R1 aircraft based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.
I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Minister for International Defence and Security gave on the HELIX programme in another place on 13 October 2008, Official Report, column WA28, to the noble Lord, Lord Lee of Trafford.
No decisions have been made on the HELIX programme. We are comparing the three options under consideration—Nimrod RI aircraft, tailored Nimrod MRA4 aircraft and the US Rivet Joint system. This work will inform the main investment decision point, expected to be in 2009. In reaching a conclusion we will take into account all relevant factors including costs, impact on the defence industrial base and operational benefits in terms of capability, in-service date and value for money, as well as other criteria.