HC Deb 11 July 2002 vol 388 cc1133-4W
Mr. Keetch

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the original estimated in-service life of the Phoenix UAV system that entered into service in 1999 was; and if he will make a statement; [68671]

(2) what the estimated in-service life of Watchkeeper is; and if he will make a statement; [68672]

(3) if the Phoenix UAV system will be upgraded; and if he will make a statement. [68673]

Mr. Ingram

The Phoenix UAV system entered service in December 1998 with a projected in-service life of 15 years. The Watchkeeper programme, which will subsume the capability offered by Phoenix, defines the capability required of UAV systems to contribute to overall Intelligence Surveillance Target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) requirements for the next 30 years.

Individual components that make up the capability, such as air vehicles, will change to reflect developments in technology and will not be expected to achieve in-service lives of 30 years. The question of further investment in the Phoenix system and its out of service date is being considered during the current Watchkeeper assessment phase.