§ Mr. Hancock
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost was of development of the Mk 8 MOD 14.5 inch gun system; if the programme is running to schedule; what the original estimated cost and in-service date was; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Dr. Moonie
Following initial development work at a cost of some £800,000, further development of the 4.5 inch Mk 8 MOD1 gun system is being conducted as part of a firm priced contract covering full development, initial update of eight units and support. The cost of this contract is commercially confidential and I am therefore withholding it in accordance with Exemption 13 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, which relates to Third Party's commercial confidences. The original estimated total development cost was in the order of £13 million. The development and initial 37W production programme is running to schedule and is on target to meet the first planned ship fitting of the modified gun system to HMS Norfolk in November 2000.