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Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost of operating a (a) Type 22, (b) Type 23 and (c) Type 42 vessel was in the last year for which information is available; and what the estimated annual cost of operating a Type 45 vessel is. (287196)

Operating costs for Royal Navy vessels are not held centrally. Officials are, however, in the process of compiling this information and I will write to you once the work has been completed.

Substantive answer from Quentin Davies to Michael Hancock:

I undertook to write to you in answer to your Parliamentary Question on 1 September 2009 (Official Report, column 1804W) regarding the operating costs for various Royal Navy vessels.

As you are aware from my previous answer, such costs are not held centrally within the Ministry of Defence. Officials have, however, consolidated the key cost driver information in order to provide you with approximate annual operating costs for Type 22 and Type 23 Frigates, and Type 42 Destroyers. Current estimates of the operating costs for Type 45 Destroyers have also been provided.

I should first make clear that, as the Type 45 Destroyers have not fully entered service with the Royal Navy, their costs are estimates and not directly comparable with the actual operating costs provided for in-service vessels. This is due to the different cost base information that has been used in determining operating costs for each class of vessel, which is explained below.

As you will also be aware, in-service Class operating costs are heavily influenced by an individual ship’s operational tasking and upkeep/maintenance regime during any particular 12 month period. Direct comparisons can, therefore, be misleading and should be avoided. For the same reasons it is pragmatic to only provide operating costs for each class of ship, rather than for an individual vessel.

The annual operating cost for the Type 22 Class of Frigates, which comprises four ships, is £129.8M. This is based on information primarily from Financial Year 07/08 the last year for which this information is available, and includes typical day-to-day costs such as fuel and manpower and general support costs covering maintenance, repair and equipment spares. Costs for equipment spares are also included, although these are based on Financial Year 08/09 information as this is the most recent information available. Costs for weapon system support are not included as they could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

The Type 23 Class of Frigates, comprising 13 vessels, has a combined annual operating cost of £340.3M, This figure is derived in the same way as that for the Type 22 Class cost.

The annual operating cost of the Type 42 Class of Destroyers, covering a total of eight vessels in the 07/08 period, is £250.8M. The costs have been derived in the same way as the Type 22 and 23 Frigates.

Turning to the Type 45 Destroyers, their actual running costs cannot be provided as the First of Class, HMS DARING, has not yet entered operational service with the Royal Navy. For the purpose of internal planning, however, estimates have been derived from cost modelling based on a class of six ships, which indicate a support cost of around £188 million per annum for the Class. This figure includes support for weapon systems (including the Sea Viper missile system) but excludes a number of other operational costs, such as berthing and fuel, which have yet to be determined.

I hope this information is helpful.