§ Mr. Leigh
asked the Secretary of State for Defence, in the light of the announcement of 8 May, Official Report, column 386, that tenders will be sought in the late summer for the third and fourth type 23 frigates, whether the ordering programme is up to that originally envisaged; and if it has been affected by the Trident programme.
§ Mr. Lee
As the "Statement on the Defence Estimates 1985" explains — Cmnd 9430-I, paragraph 503 — the forward programme is not a rigid plan but consists of assumptions endorsed for costing purposes only. In the longer term we intend to maintain a force level of about 50 destroyers and frigates and I can assure my hon. Friend that our ordering plans for the type 23 frigate are proceeding satisfactorily in this regard.
§ Mr. O'Neill
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether any foreign companies have been invited to tender for the next three type 23 frigates.369W