§ Mr. Carrington
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the current progress of Project Horizon, the common new generation frigate.
§ Mr. Aitken
I am pleased to announce that, at a ceremony in Lancaster House today, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence and the Defence 445W Ministers of France and Italy—Mr. Francois Leotard and Mr. Cesare Previti, respectively—signed a memorandum of understanding, and its preliminary supplement, concerning the joint development of this project. The memorandum of understanding will govern the design, development and production of the frigate, including its combat system, with the exception of the anti-air warfare system which will be covered by a separate MOU. We have also set in hand important preliminary work, under the preliminary supplement to the MOU, to be completed during the course of the next year. The successful completion of this work will enable us to take the project forward to the next stage of commitment, which will be embodied in the AAW system MOU and an additional supplement to the frigate programme MOU. It remains our firm intention to achieve the best possible value for money for the British taxpayer.