HC Deb 19 July 2004 vol 424 cc19-20
15. Richard Ottaway (Croydon, South) (Con)

What assessment he has made of the procurement implications of the Defence White Paper. [184483]

The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Geoffrey Hoon)

The defence White Paper made clear that our future force development process is focused on capability and the need to deliver flexible, deployable and hard-hitting forces to perform a range of military tasks. Our procurement plans are configured to provide the equipment required to achieve that goal. I will be making a more detailed statement on Wednesday following the results of the 2004 spending review.

Richard Ottaway

I am grateful to the Secretary of State. What proposals does he have to provide airborne early warning cover to the new aircraft carriers?

Mr. Hoon

The way in which modern ships are provided with defence is quite different from the way in which the previous generation of ships were protected—I believe that is what the hon. Gentleman is alluding to. A multi-layered approach will ensure the safety of ships on deployment.

John Robertson (Glasgow, Anniesland) (Lab)

Will my right hon. Friend give us an update on the MARS—military afloat reach and sustainability—project and the new ships that are going to be built?

Mr. Hoon

I will send my hon. Friend a detailed account of that project and how it is proceeding.