§ Dr. Moonie
[holding answer 14 March 2000]: As part of our strategy for defence science and technology, the Ministry of Defence has been developing an approach known as the "Towers of Excellence" model. The intention, in partnership with industry, is to identify areas in which technological excellence might best be concentrated and defence-specific technologies enhanced to the level required to produce world class equipment for our Armed Forces.
To do this on a systematic basis requires a comprehensive view of industrial capabilities and aspirations. There must be sufficiently coherent clusters of technology to enable UK industry to continue to be able to bid for a substantial proportion of UK defence equipment. These towers must therefore align with industry's own plans. We expect this alignment to be informed by the defence industries' own technology strategy which they have prepared to complement that of MOD.
Industry and MOD have agreed on a process for bringing their respective strategies together and defining priorities for constructing technological "towers of excellence" within available resources. Work is likely to continue through to the end of 2000.