Warship Command Systems

Defence written question – answered on 1st December 2004.

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Photo of Mr Mike Hancock Mr Mike Hancock Member, Panel of Chairs, Member, Defence Committee 1st December 2004

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what risk assessments were made on the proposal to run the command systems for future Royal Navy warships on the Microsoft Windows operating system; what other options were considered; what benefits Windows has over the other options; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Adam Ingram Mr Adam Ingram Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence 1st December 2004

The Type 45 prime contractor, BAE Systems, and its sub-contractor, are responsible for selecting an operating system that meets the requirements placed on them by the Defence Procurement Agency. However, industry's decision to use Windows 2000 was also the subject of a review conducted by the Ministry of Defence which included specialist representatives from QinetiQ and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. The review concluded that the choice of Windows 2000 presented the lowest risk of the available options. The contractor considered that there were only two credible choices of accredited operating system: Windows 2000 from Microsoft and a Unix based solution, Solaris from Sun. While the Unix option was considered technically viable, the decision to use Windows 2000 was taken as it was considered to minimise the risks for long-term support.

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