§ Captain Kerby
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the orders for the two new types of missile ships and the new type of frigate mentioned in the 1968–69 Defence Estimates which will be placed during the current financial year.
§ Mr. John Morris
As announced in the Supplementary Statement on Defence Policy 1968 (Cmnd. 3701), orders for a commercially designed frigate and for the first of a new class of destroyer, equipped with SEADART guided missiles, will be placed as soon as the designs are ready. It is expected to order both of these ships during the current financial year. The third ship mentioned in the Statement on the Defence Estimates (Cmnd. 3540), the cruiser, is not yet designed.
Estimates of cost are not normally released until completion of the project. Reticence is particularly important at this stage when contract negotiations are taking place.