§ Dr. Julian Lewis
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Navy ships have been ordered since May 1997; and on what dates. 
§ Mr. Hoon
On 19 June 2000, the Minister for Defence Procurement announced the placing of an order with Vosper Thornycroft (UK) Ltd. for two new Multi-Role Hydrographic and Oceanographic Survey Vessels together with 25 years contractor support. The ships, to be named HMS Echo and HMS Enterprise, will be built under sub-contract at Appledore Shipbuilders in Devon, and are due to enter service in 2002 and 2003.
During the debate on Defence Procurement on 26 October, I announced that we intended to order four alternative landing ship logistic (ALSLs), subject to negotiation of satisfactory terms and conditions.
I also announced that, subject to final negotiations, we intend to sign a 25-year private finance initiative contract with AWSR Shipping Ltd. to provide for the strategic sealift capability. This will involve the construction of six new roll on roll off (RORO) vessels; two at Harland and Wolff in Northern Ireland and four in a German shipyard.
It is also intended that, subject to satisfactory arrangements being agreed, the order for the first new type 45 Destroyers will be placed later this year. It is planned that the first and third ships will be assembled by BAE Systems Marine and the second by Vosper Thornycroft (UK) Ltd.