HC Deb 18 December 1968 vol 775 cc1358-9
8. Mr. Goodhew

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what capability is being planned to enable the Royal Navy to counteract the Soviet Navy's cruise missiles.

Dr. David Owen

Besides direct engagement of the missile ship, the Royal Navy's counter to cruise missiles will be provided by the Sea Slug surface-to-air missile system and by the new close range Sea Wolf and medium range Sea Dart systems now under development. Electronic countermeasures against this form of attack will also be available.

Mr. Goodhew

Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that these cruise missiles have a range of 300 plus miles and, since they are air controlled in the initial stages, is it not vital for the Navy to have control of the air space within a reasonable range of its ships?

Dr. Owen

I am satisfied that the Royal Navy is being provided with the most effective defence against missile attack, and support for Her Majesty's ships subject to such attack would be available from fixed-wing aircraft operated from shore bases after the carriers phase out, and from fleet submarines.