HC Deb 01 March 1967 vol 742 cc485-6
12. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether it has now been decided to complete all four Type 82 destroyers; when the first ship of this class will be completed; and what is her estimated cost.

Mr. Mason

The further programme of Type 82 destroyers has not yet been settled. The first ship will be completed in 1971; it is too early yet to forecast the cost.

Mr. Wall

If the carrier is to be phased out, surely these vessels will have no positive rôle? Would the hon. Gentleman confirm that Sea Dart, which they were built to accommodate, has not yet been ordered by any foreign country?

Mr. Mason

The hon. Gentleman is quite right: Sea Dart has not yet been ordered by any foreign country, although we hope that at the price which we hope to achieve from the contractors concerned, it will have great export potential. The Type 82 destroyer will be a testing bed for that type of missile.

Mr. Powell

How could the Government in the Defence White Paper a year ago talk about "shortly ordering the first of a new, more powerful class of guided missile ship" when they have not decided whether there are to be any more after the first?

Mr. Mason

As the right hon. Gentleman will have noticed from Chapter 1 of the Defence White Paper, this is under review, and the size and shape of the future fleet has not yet been decided.