HC Deb 17 March 1965 vol 708 cc1275-6
37. Mr. Sharples

asked the Minister of Aviation whether in view of the failure of the short-range Tartar and medium-range Terrier anti-aircraft weapons being developed for the United States Navy, he will approach the United States Government with a view to their purchase of similar British weapons which have been successfully developed, notably Sea Slug Mark 2 and Sea Dart, under the reciprocal arrangements which now exist.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

I am aware of un-official reports of difficulties over Tartar and Terrier. The United States authorities have been fully informed of the capa bilities of Sea Slug and Sea Dart. It must be borne in mind, however, that missiles of this kind form part of an integrated ship system and cannot easily be substituted one for another.

Mr. Sharples

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the United States Government are said to be on the point of placing a development contract for the replacement of these two missiles, which have failed? Will he take a positive initiative to see that the American Government adopt British weapons which have been successfully developed—or is the trade to be entirely in one direction?

Mr. Jenkins

I am pursuing and will pursue, as vigorously as possible, efforts to make interdependence reciprocal.

Commander Courtney

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that Sea Dart in particular has a potential surface-to-surface capability, and, therefore, it will be of particular interest to the United States Navy?

Mr. Jenkins

I shall bring this to the attention of the United States authorities.

Mr. Maxwell

Would my right hon. Friend consider setting up a technical sales team at the Ministry of Aviation which would help plug the sales of British-made weapons to our Western allies, including the United States?

Mr. Jenkins

We are looking at this whole question of our export effort in aircraft and missiles and are acting as energetically as possible.

Mr. McMaster

Will the right hon. Gentleman also endeavour to sell the Short's Sea Cat—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—to the United States Government as a small quid pro quo in return for the purchase of the C130 and the Phantom?

Mr. Jenkins

I shall bear in mind the hon. Member's point on this matter, as on all other aspects of Short Brothers' effort.