§ Mr. Foulkes
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration led to the decision to withdraw the WE.177 in 1998; what was the original date for withdrawal; and on what date that decision was taken. 
§ Mr. Arbuthnot
The decision to withdraw WE177 from service by the end of 1998, announced on 4 April 1995,Official Report, column 1097, was reached in the light of the good progress being made in providing Trident with a sub-strategic capability. This capability will be fully robust when Vigilant enters service in 1998 and there is no requirement for us to maintain two systems in the sub-strategic role after that point. We had previously assessed that WE177 had the potential to remain in service until the early years of the next century.