§ Mr. Hancock
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the planned in-service date for the ASTOR programme; and what changes to that date have taken place since May 1997. 
§ Mr. Spellar
The In Service Date, ISD, in May 1997 was 2003. Since then the bidders for the Airborne Stand-Off Radar, ASTOR, programme have been asked to review the feasibility of this in their bids for the Full Development and Production phase of the programme.
The Department is currently in the process of evaluating bids, and it would, therefore, not be appropriate to make specific comments on any aspects of the bids at this time. On current plans we aim to announce a decision on the project in the spring, and award a contract later this year. The new ISD is dependent upon the selected bid.