HC Deb 01 May 1968 vol 763 c1094
27. Mr. Goodhew

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he hopes to place an order for a prototype of a new advanced combat aircraft to meet the gap left by the cancellation of the TSR2, the F111K and the Anglo-French variable geometry aircraft.

Mr. Healey

I am not able to make a statement on the project at this stage.

Mr. Goodhew

But the right hon. Gentleman cut out the core of our aircraft programme operationally and industrially. Is he content to sit on his behind all this time and do nothing about it? Is he aware that much is going on in the aircraft industry already and it merely requires the say-so from him to enable some prototypes to be produced at reasonable cost?

Mr. Healey

The hon. Gentleman is often a little over-excited on the matter. I am aware of all the factors to which he has referred. The fact that a great deal is going on in the aircraft industry on the matter is largely owing to the policy of Her Majesty's Government and the money which we are giving to the design team at Warton to carry out these studies. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that our consultations with our European allies and our studies inside the Department are now well advanced and the outcome looks favourable.