HC Deb 01 November 1983 vol 47 cc733-4
18. Mr. Wilkinson

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has held with the Governments of the Federal Republic of Germany and Italy about the formulation of a common operational requirement for a new agile combat aircraft between the Royal Air Force, Luftwaffe and Italian air force.

Mr. Pattie

My right hon. Friend has taken the opportunity of meetings this year with the Defence Ministers of the Federal Republic of Germany and Italy to discuss the potential requirement for a future combat aircraft.

Mr. Wilkinson

Is not that development a great step forward, especially for the evolution of a joint project to meet the operational requirements of the three Panavia partners? Does not that mean that we will build on the success of the Tornado industrial experience to fulfil western Europe's joint requirement for a new military aircraft?

Mr. Pattie

Although I agree with my hon. Friend, I am sure he agrees with me that there is still a long and complicated road ahead to achieve such collaboration.

Mr. Warren

Can my hon. Friend give an assurance that in the negotiations there will be no relinquishing of the rights of British Aerospace to hold the design authority for the development of the new aircraft?

Mr. Pattie

We obviously wish to safeguard that position, as our potential collaborators will seek to safeguard similar positions.

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