HC Deb 03 July 1973 vol 859 cc228-9
3. Mr. Dykes

asked the Minister of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the progress of the Jaguar aircraft for operational use.

The Minister of State for Defence (Mr. Ian Gilmour)

The Jaguar development and production programme is proceeding satisfactorily.

The Royal Air Force recently took delivery of its first aircraft and plans to form its first squadron during the current financial year.

Mr. Dykes

Is my right hon. Friend pleased with the aeroplane? Does it come up to expectations in its preliminary operations? For how many years does he think it will be a successful addition to the Royal Air Force?

Mr. Gilmour

We are certainly pleased with it. More important, the RAF is pleased with it. It more than meets our expectations. I should not like to give an exact estimate of the number of years it will be in service.

Mr. Wilkinson

Does my right hon. Friend agree that, following the satisfactory introduction into service of the Jaguar with the Royal Air Force, the important thing now is to get a major export order for the aircraft? Will he do everything within his power to ensure the sale of the aircraft to one of our traditional export markets for British military equipment?

Mr. Gilmour

As my hon. Friend knows, there has been a good deal of interest in foreign countries about the aircraft. I am confident that we shall make some sales.