HC Deb 18 November 1970 vol 806 c1218
17. Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson

asked the Minister of Aviation Supply whether he will make a statement about the proposed new strike-trainer aircraft for the Royal Air Force.

Mr. Corfield

At my Department's request the British Aircraft Corporation and Hawker Siddeley Aviation have submitted proposals for meeting this requirement. Information is also being obtained on the Alpha Jet which is being developed jointly in France and the Federal Republic of Germany.

Mr. McNair-Wilson

Can my right hon. Friend give an assurance that he has no intention of seeing this country join the Europeans in the Alpha Jet project? It is about time that we had an aircraft which has British design leadership in it and, therefore, a British submission should be accepted.

Mr. Corfield

I am very hopeful that one or other of the British aircraft companies' proposals—and both companies are putting them forward—will be in every respect acceptable, but it would be wrong not to look at any proposition in regard to the Alpha Jet at the same time.

Mr. Onslow

Would my right hon. Friend bear in mind that there is very clear evidence that the capacity of design and management of this project on the part of the Europeans, particularly the French and Germans, is already grossly overstretched?

Mr. Corfield

I think there may be something in what my hon. Friend says, but one must bear in mind that this is relatively a simple aircraft.