The Ministry of Defence has admitted an unexpected two-year delay in a £50m project to re-equip Royal Navy minehunter-sweepers with new sonars.
The companies chasing the work, Thomson Marconi Sonar (TMS) and Lockheed Martin, only learned of the delay shortly before the winner was scheduled to be announced.
The Sonar 2193 project is intended to produce a new minehunting sonar to be fitted to eight of the navy’s Hunt class minehunters, with options to fit new sonars to three more.
The Ministry of Defence said this week that the original in-service date of 2001 has slipped to 2003 because of a change to the priorities of the 1999 long-term costings under which defence spending is parcelled out.
About £9m has already been spent by the MoD on feasibility study and project definition work for the sonar project, while industry is understood to have spent another £4m.