HC Deb 10 March 1999 vol 327 c209W
Mr. Davidson

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if the Auxiliary Oiler contract is(a) on schedule and (b) proceeding to budget; and if he will make a statement; [75125]

(2) what (a) detailed and (b) major changes his Department has sought to make to the design of the ships under the Auxiliary Oiler contract; what was the cost to his Department of such changes and what measures have been taken to ensure that costs do not increase on the contract; and if he will make a statement; [75123]

(3) what stage the work on the Auxiliary Oiler contract has reached for (a) the first and (b) the second ship; and if he will make a statement. [75124]

Mr. Spellar

Progress continues on the design, material procurement and construction of the two ships. Construction of the central section of the first ship, comprising four major blocks, is nearing completion. For the second ship, fabrication of units for the first major block has recently started. A small number of detailed design changes have been agreed, costing the MOD around £0.5 million, mostly related to "Spend to Save" programmes to achieve reduction in through life operating costs. None of these changes affects the delivery schedule and the project remains within budget. The prime contractor is currently reviewing its overall work programme. The outcome of this review will be discussed with MOD officials shortly. It is not possible to state at this stage the extent to which this might result in delay to the deliver of the ships, although some slippage is anticipated.