HC Deb 01 November 1983 vol 47 cc732-3
15. Mr. Arnold

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Royal Air Force has any plans to purchase additional Nimrod aircraft.

Mr. Pattie

No, Sir.

Mr. Arnold

Bearing in mind the vital role that these aircraft perform, does my hon. Friend agree that it is essential to maintain the industrial capability that will be needed in the future to enhance their performance? Can he now say definitely that there will be a comprehensive return to the work programme?

Mr. Pattie

I cannot give my hon. Friend the assurance that he seeks. The Royal Air Force must have adequate contractor support, but he must discuss with the company involved the matters that he has in mind.

Mr. Dalyell

Have there been any complaints about the Nimrod AD470 Marconi transceiver equipment when operating at 1,000 to 1,500 miles?

Mr. Pattie

None of which I am aware.

Mr. Dykes

Since the French air force is not, apparently, to purchase the AWACS equipment from the United States, are the Government and the Ministry of Defence making strenuous efforts to appraise them of the merits of the Nimrod?

Mr. Pattie

Yes, we are.

Sir Patrick Wall

Have not SACLANT and CINCMAN said that they are desperately short of maritime patrol aircraft? How do the Government intend to rectify that deficiency together with their allies?

Mr. Pattie

My hon. Friend is correct in saying that SACLANT has such anxieties, but the fact remains that to open the line and build more of that type of aircraft would cost the Government a considerable sum of money.

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