§ Mr. William Rodgers
As my hon. Friend said in his reply to the hon. Member for Tynemouth (Mr. Trotter) on 9th December, an additional order for Nimrod aircraft was placed early in 1972 as part of a series of measures to stimulate employment, and we are examining the eventual role for these aircraft in the light of the defence review and other considerations. A programme to refit existing Nimrod aircraft with new communications equipment is about to start. In the longer term we are continuing plans for a major modernisation programme involving improved radar, sensors and attack systems although the number of aircraft to be refitted would naturally be affected by the proposals to reduce the size of the force.