§ Mr. Carrington
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the progress of the Trident programme.
§ Mr. Rifkind
I am pleased to announce that an order is being placed today with Vickers Shipbuilding and 99W Engineering Ltd. at Barrow-in-Furness for the construc-tion of the Royal Navy's fourth Vanguard class Trident missile submarine.
Negotiations have resulted in a keenly priced contract, and a price lower on a comparable basis than those for the first three submarines. This reflects improvements in productivity at VSEL and the considerable experience the company now has in building this class of submarine.
The order underlines the Government's commitment to the United Kingdom Trident programme and to the effective maintenance of Britain's strategic nuclear deterrent, while obtaining the best possible value for money for the taxpayer.
Trident remains firmly on course for introduction into service with the Royal Navy in the mid-1990s.