HC Deb 23 January 1967 vol 739 cc205-7W
Mr. Marten

asked the Minister of Aviation (1) what production and sales arrangements have been made under the recently concluded Anglo-French helicopter agreement to cover orders from third countries;

(2) what will be the cost of each type of helicopter under the recently concluded agreement with France; and how this price compares with the United States near-equivalent;

(3) if he will give details of the recently concluded helicopter package deal with France;

(4) how many helicopters of French design Great Britain will buy under the recently concluded agreement with France.

Mr. Stonehouse

The agreement which we reached with the French last week provides for the joint production of an airportable tactical helicopter, the SA330, and for the joint development and production of a light helicopter, the SA340 and a utility helicopter, the WG13.

The development of the SA330 is already well advanced and will continue to be undertaken and financed primarily by France. Development of the other two helicopters will be shared and financed equally. France will have the design leadership on the SA340 and the United Kingdom on the WG13.

Production will be organised so that duplication of tooling is kept to a minimum, and in each case will be divided to give each country work equivalent to is national requirement and an equitable share of exports. On the two jointly developed helicopters, exports will be shared fifty-fifty; on the SA330 where France will have borne the major share of development and has the major requirement, our export share will be less.

Our initial order for the SA.330 will be for about 50. Any assessment of the numbers of the two smaller helicopters required must at this stage be speculative but orders are likely to be substantial. It is not customary to quote unit production prices.

There are no suitable United States alternatives to the SA.330 and the WG.13. The U.S. competitors for the light helicopter fall short of the Services' requirements.