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Last Updated: Friday, 24 November 2006, 16:24 GMT
The art of military procurement...
Britain spends billions of pounds every year equipping our fighting men and women around the world.

But with the equipment being increasingly complicated and expensive, it is hard to keep track of what is what.

Here's the Politics Show's guide to four of the biggest procurement projects.

Astute-class submarine
Astute-class submarine
Number ordered: 3
Due: December 2008
Overdue by: 3 years, 6 months
How much: 3.7bn total
Over budget by: 1.1bn
How fast: 29 knots
Made by: BAE systems
What it's for: Nuclear-powered attack submarine, replacing five Swiftsure class subs dating to the 1970s
What it's packing: Tomahawk cruise missiles plus 36 Spearfish torpedoes and mines
Type 45 destroyer
Type 45 destroyer
Number ordered: 6
Due: December 2009
Overdue by: 2 years, 7 months
How much: 6.1 total
Over budget by: 1.1bn
How fast: over 27 knots
Made by: BAE systems marine
What it's for: Anti-air warfare destroyer, providing local area fleet defence and replacing Type 42 destroyers dating from 1978
What it's packing: Principal Anti-Aircraft Missile System, and Tomahawk cruise missiles


Nimrod MRA4 reconnaissance plane
Nimrod MRA4 reconnaissance plane
Number ordered: 12
Due: By 2010
Overdue by: 7 years, 5 months
How much: 3.5bn total
Over budget by: 703m
How fast: Mach 0.77
Made by: BAE Systems
What it's for: Maritime reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface unit warfare and search and rescue
What it's packing: MRA4 Tactical Command System. Can carry torpedoes, sonobuoys, Harpoon anti-ship missiles or AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles
Eurofighter Typhoon
Eurofighter Typhoon
Number ordered: 232
Due: June 2003
Overdue by: 4 years, 6 months
How much: 16.7bn total
Over budget by: not available
How fast: mach 2.0
Made by: Eurofighter GmbH, part-owned by BAE systems
What it's for: Beyond-visual-range, close air fighter aircraft with surface attack capability What it's packing: Revolver gun, plus a mixture of weapons for air superiority, air interdiction, close air support, maritime attack and suppression of enemy defences, plus cruise missiles.


All images courtesy of BAE Systems


Join Jon Sopel and guests for the Politics Show on Sunday 26 November 2006 at 12:00 GMT on BBC One.

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