To ask the Secretary of State for Defence
(1) what systems have been put in place to cope with a failure in the planned Windows 2000 operating system in the Type 45 Destroyers;
(2) whether there has been an external review of the Windows 2000 Combat Management System Type 45 Destroyer Project;
(3) what the proposed cost was of implementing Unix as the operating system for the Combat Management System in the Type 45 Destroyers;
(4) what the cost is of implementing Windows 2000 as the operating system for the Combat Management System in the Type 45 Destroyers;
(5) what steps he has taken to ensure that the Windows 2000 Combat Management System in the new Type 45 Destroyers is reliable.
The Type 45 prime contractor, BAE Systems, and their sub-contractor, are responsible for selecting an operating system that meets the requirements placed on them by the Defence Procurement Agency (DPA). Industry's decision to use Windows 2000 was in any case the subject of a review conducted by the Ministry of Defence which included specialist representatives from QinetiQ and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL). The review concluded that the choice of Windows 2000 represented the lowest risk choice of operating system. In particular, the review concluded that any residual risks associated with reliability were well understood by the contractor and that the normal process of regression and integration testing would quantify and reduce these risks before Type 45 is accepted into service.
The system design has built-in redundancy, with automatic, and transparent, switch-over to a back-up system if the primary system has a problem. This would provide continuity of operation and ensure that no data were lost. The system design also ensures that comprehensive hardware mechanisms will be in place to avoid any other safety or technical issues.
The cost of implementing an operating system for the Combat Management System in the Type 45 is a matter for the prime contractor, BAE Systems, and their sub-contractor. The Department does not have, or require, visibility of costs at that level of detail.