HC Deb 18 November 1970 vol 806 cc1217-8
11. Mr. Wall

asked the Minister of Aviation Supply if he will make a further statement on the future of the multi-rôle combat aircraft project.

Mr. Corfield

As my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Defence stated in reply to a Question on 28th October, the first major development phase is now proceeding on a tripartite basis.—[Vol. 805, c. 140–1.]

Mr. Wall

Is it not a fact that the range of the MRCA is considerably less than that of the TSR2, and, now that British forces are to remain east of Suez, that there is considerable anxiety whether this aircraft will have the range to be of effective use in oceanic areas of the world?

Mr. Corfield

It is, of course, true that the range is less than that of TSR2, but it is designed for a different rôle, and I do not think it follows that, because there is to be a limited presence east of Suez, that makes this aircraft an undesirable one with which to proceed.

21. Mr. Warren

asked the Minister of Aviation Supply how aircraft equipment will be selected for the multi-rôle combat aircraft.

Mr. Corfield

Aircraft equipment for the MRCA will be selected by agreement between governmental representatives and the aircraft prime contractor, Panavia, after a process of competitive tendering has taken place.

Mr. Warren

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the terms of the programme permit American equipment companies to bid into the programme on equal terms with British companies, whereas British companies have no such privilege in the United States? I hope that under this programme he will see his way to negotiating an offset agreement with the United States.

Mr. Corfield

If a significant part of either the equipment or the avionics should go to a United States contractor, I will closely bear in mind my hon. Friend's suggestion.

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