To ask the Secretary of State for Defence
(1) what estimate he has made of the cost of the Future Lynx helicopter project; and what estimate he has made of the annual cost, averaged over the lifetime of the project;
(2) what the in-service date for the Future Lynx helicopter is;
(3) what estimate he has made of the number of engineers qualified in aeronautics employed on the Future Lynx programme at the latest date for which figures are available.
The value of the contact awarded to Agusta Westland in June 2006 for the development and manufacture of 70 Future Lynx aircraft is approximately £1 billion. There has been no cost escalation in this contract. The total cost of the Future Lynx project is estimated to be in the order of £10 billion. This figure captures all expenditure forecast through the life of the project, including the cost of the helicopters, supporting systems, manpower, training, maintenance, spares, consumables, fuel and infrastructure costs. While the aircraft are expected to be in-service for 30 years, these costs are incurred from initial concept stages to disposal; about 50 years. This equates to an average annual cost for the battlefield and maritime capabilities to be provided by the Future Lynx fleet of approximately £200 million.
The current in-service date for Future Lynx is 2014.
The Department does not have routine visibility of the total numbers of aeronautic qualified engineers employed throughout industry on specific projects. However in April 2008 Agusta Westland (AW), the prime contractor for the Future Lynx programme, estimated that during this year an average of 600 to 700 engineers, qualified in a wide range of aeronautics disciplines, will be employed on this project by AW and sub-contractors.