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Aircraft Carriers

Volume 498: debated on Monday 2 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the fleet of aircraft carriers was last refurbished; and what the life expectancy of the fleet is. (296356)

The current fleet of three Invincible Class aircraft carriers all underwent a major refurbishment (refit) at Rosyth between 1999 and 2005. HMS Ark Royal completed in 2001, HMS Invincible completed in 2003 and HMS Illustrious completed in 2005.

On current plans, the Out of Service Dates (OSDs) are: HMS Invincible 2010, HMS Ark Royal in 2014 and HMS Illustrious 2016. Our ship programmes are kept under continuous review to ensure that the In-Service Dates for the Queen Elizabeth (QE) Class carriers remain coherent with the OSDs for the Invincible Class.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his most recent plans are for the procurement and future use of the new aircraft carrier; and if he will make a statement. (296698)

The Government remain fully committed to the manufacture of two Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. The carriers are a core component of the overall Carrier Strike Programme and a cornerstone of future defence policy.