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Warship Construction Programme

Volume 486: debated on Monday 12 January 2009

8. To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what timetable he has set for the warship construction programme; and if he will make a statement. (246447)

We are currently engaged in the most substantial peacetime naval shipbuilding programme since the first world war. This is centred on the Type 45 destroyers, the Astute class submarines and the future aircraft Carriers. Following on from these we will have the future surface combatant and successor class submarine. This programme will provide the capability the Royal Navy needs to remain one of the world's most powerful maritime forces. As the House knows we have announced that the in-service dates of the carriers will be delayed by one to two years allowing closer alignment for the entry into service of the aircraft which will fly from them. HMS Daring, the first of class of the T45 destroyers, is expected to enter service next year with its five successors at a rate of approximately one a year thereafter. The House will also know that there has been some delay to the Astute programme. We are re-baselining the programme and I will make an announcement in due course. The future surface combatant will follow-on from the carriers, but it is far too early to announce an in-service date. The future surface combatant and the successor class submarines are at the very early stages of design.