§ Mr. Speed
At September 1979 prices the total estimated cost of development and production of the Sting Ray torpedo is £920 million. The development programme is proceeding on schedule and642W several hundred tests have been carried out since 1969 using prototype torpedoes or their component parts. It is not customary on security grounds to give details of weapons production, but the weapon is due to enter service in the early 1980s.
§ Mr. Speed
Purchase of the improved Mark 46 torpedo (NEARTIP) from the United States would cost an estimated £200 million at September 1979 prices. The total estimated procurement costs for Sting Ray are £920 million. However, the whole difference in cost cannot be regarded as a potential saving: the money already spent on Sting Ray, together with the costs of cancellation would, by the end of this year, amount to over £190 million. Moreover, the two systems are not fully comparable: NEARTIP would not meet the operational requirements of the Navy and the RAF. Sting Ray is a much more advanced weapon and its performance in such crucial areas as shallow water homing and warhead lethality has been optimised to meet the future needs of our forces.