HC Deb 03 November 1989 vol 159 cc376-7W
Mr. Cohen

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the progress of the Uniter RAF telecom system; what was the original cost and target completion date; what are his current estimates; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Alan Clark

Uniter will provide the RAF with a new secure voice and data communications system to support the effective operation of a number of new equipments and systems coming into service in the next few years. Uniter stage 1, involving 12 improved United Kindom air defence ground environment stations, was commissioned and handed over to the RAF in December 1988. Stage 2, involving a further 48 sites, will come into service in the early 1990s.

The equipment delivery programme for stage 2 is proceeding according to schedule. Some equipment costs have, however, increased; and greater than foreseen difficulties with the substantial works programme, combined with high cost escalation in recent years in the civil construction industry, have led to cost and timescale overruns for the programme as a whole. I am considering proposals to strengthen the management arrangements for the remainder of the programme in order to minimise the likelihood of further delays or cost increases.

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