§ Mr. Keetch
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the total cost increase in the Nimrod and Astute programmes was due to changes in specifications; and if he will list the specified changes. 
§ Mr. Ingram
None of the cost increases in the Nimrod and Astute programmes, announced by my noble Friend the Minister for Defence Procurement on 19 February, was due to changes in specifications. The cost increase in the Astute programme derives directly from the Department taking responsibility for a share of the cost increases resulting from decisions taken jointly by the Ministry of Defence and the company on the use of Computer Aided Design technology. For Nimrod MRA4, the cost increase is the MOD's contribution towards the costs required to restructure the programme, as well as including a separate amount for the conduct of an Assessment Phase study to explore the potential for capability enhancement as an "adaptable aircraft" to meet future defence requirements building upon the results of recent operational experience and the general need for more surveillance, reconnaissance and land attack capability identified in the SDR New Chapter.