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Armed Forces: Future Aircraft Carrier

Volume 693: debated on Monday 9 July 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What assessment has been made of the importance of the future aircraft carrier programme to the defence industrial strategy in terms of maintaining a core strategic capability to design, build and provide through life support for such complex warships; and [HL4550]

What assessment has been made of the extent to which future work streams in United Kingdom shipyards for naval vessels systems and propulsion unit designs are reliant on the advancement of the future aircraft carrier programme. [HL4551]

We expect current and planned programmes, including the future aircraft carrier programme, to ensure the retention of key skills and capabilities in the UK maritime industry in the short to medium term. The defence industrial strategy defined the key maritime industrial skills and capabilities we need to retain on shore to support the needs of the Royal Navy in the longer term. We are therefore working with the shipbuilding industry to agree the core workload required to sustain these high-end design, systems engineering and combat systems integration skills across the maritime sector.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How they require the maritime industry to consolidate before an announcement on the future carrier is made; what discussions they have had with the VT Group and BAE Systems on this consolidation; what progress industry has made to date; and how they have responded to this progress. [HL4644]

The defence industrial strategy is clear that we expect the UK maritime sector to consolidate now to ensure long-term balance in supply and demand post-future carrier (CVF) and to embed the right behaviours and benefits into ship build and support programmes. The MoD and the parties to the proposed BAE Systems and VT Shipbuilding joint venture have held extensive discussions, and we are jointly making good progress.