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24 Nov 06. Major Projects: 2006 Report Published. The National Audit Office (NAO) published (24 Nov 06) Major Projects Report 2006 (MPR06). The Report covers cost, time and performance data for projects in the year ended 31 Mar 06. 20 of the MoD’s largest projects where the main investment decision (Main Gate) has been taken are examined, together with 10 projects still in the Assessment Phase. The in-service date (ISD) for the Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) has slipped by a year, from August 2012 to August 2013, due to “Typhoon integration delays”. The cost of the first three Astute Class submarines has risen by a further £164m to £3,656m. The forecast ISD for HMS ASTUTE is December 2008 (from the original June 2005). The cost of the first six Type 45 destroyers has risen by a further £157m to £6,110m. The forecast ISD for HMS DARING is December 2009 (from the original November 2007). For the second year running, the estimated cost of Eurofighter Typhoon has been withheld “in order to protect the UK’s ability to negotiate for subsequent buys of the aircraft”.
Comment: Following publication of MPR06 by the NAO, the Defence Procurement Minister and the Chief of Defence Procurement made themselves available for questioning. There are all sorts of difficulties with the Eurofighter Typhoon, not least the exorbitant costs which were apparently being asked for the Meteor integration trials mentioned above. Although the Minister was full of praise for the aircraft, some interesting discussions around Tranche 3 would appear to be looming. MPR06 is available on the NAO website (www.nao.gov.uk). In hard copy, the Report is published in two volumes: the Report as HC 23-I for £13:50 and the Project Summary Sheets as HC 23-II for £32:50. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0645, 27 Nov 06)

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