§ Mr. Hoon
This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Defence Procurement Agency. I have asked the Chief Executive to write to my right hon. Friend.
Letter from John Howe to Mr. Frank Field, dated 8 November 1999:I am replying to your question to the Secretary of State for Defence asking how many orders for aircraft carriers he expects to place in the next year and when tenders will be invited. This matter falls to me for answer within my area of responsibility as Chief of Defence Procurement and Chief Executive of the Defence Procurement Agency.The Strategic Defence Review set out our plans to replace our existing aircraft carriers from 2012 with two larger and more capable vessels. Tenders for the Assessment Phase of the programme, which will develop overall design proposals for the carriers, were released to industry in January 1999. Bids were received from two industry teams in May and, subject to the outcome of commercial negotiations, it is planned to place up to two contracts by the end of the year. Bids for the Demonstration and Manufacture Phase are expected in 2003 and contract placement is scheduled for 2004.