HC Deb 21 October 1971 vol 823 cc885-6
25. Mr. Warren

asked the Minister of State for Defence if he will state the reasons for the choice of a United States radar for the multi-rôle combat aircraft.

Mr. Ian Gilmour

I can confirm that, subject to satisfactory contractual arrangements, the United States firm of Texas Instruments has been selected to provide the radar for the multi-rôle combat aircraft. This radar was much the cheapest that would satisfactorily meet the operational needs of the three participating countries.

Mr. Warren

Does my hon. Friend agree that the operational requirement of the Royal Air Force has had to be amended to meet the German choice of this radar, made at the expense of a Scottish company which could have supplied the equipment?

Mr. Gilmour

It is true that the original R.A.F. requirement was somewhat more sophisticated, but it is confident that the chosen radar will satisfactorily meet its operational needs.

Mr. George Thomson

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there will be widespread dismay at the announcement he has just made? Is he further aware that hon. Members this side of the House feel that the Government have been altogether too defeatist and complacent in allowing jobs which might well have gone to the British radar industry to go across the Atlantic for a project supposed to be essentially European?

Mr. Gilmour

I am aware that the choice is bound to be extremely disappointing and unwelcome to British industry, but I am confident that, taking the multi-rôle combat programme as a whole, specifically including the avionics field, we shall end up with our fair share of the total programme. Since the right hon. Gentleman sought to make a party point, it is fair to remind him that the selection of American radar was the result of an agreement entered into in 1969.