§ Mr. Wilkinson
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his estimate of the total cost of the project definition, development and production of the full complement of Horizon 2000 common new generation frigates to the Royal Navy; what were the original estimates; when the acceptance of the first of class by the Fleet is due to take place; and what was the date originally planned. 
§ Mr. Spellar
It is currently expected that 12 Horizon class frigates will be ordered for the Royal Navy, although this is, of course, subject to the outcome of the Strategic130W Defence Review. The Horizon programme MOU signed by the three nations (UK, France and Italy) in 1994 originally envisaged an in service date of 2002. The current tri-national in service date is 2004, although this is kept under review. The estimated programme cost to the UK is commercially confidential, but we expect the entire programme, including full production of 22 ships for the three nations, to remain within the original cost estimate of some £6 billion to £8 billion. The contract for completion of the design and build of the three first of class Horizon frigates, i.e. one for each nation, is expected to be placed next year.