HC Deb 16 February 1977 vol 926 cc258-9W
Mr. Arnold

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has recently received from the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers with regard to the purchase of an Airborne Early Warning Nimrod.

Dr. Gilbert

I have recently received a letter from the convener of the Confederated Joint Shop Stewards Committee at Hawker Siddeley Aviation Ltd., Woodford, which contained a copy of a statement made by a divisional organiser of the AUEW.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what conclusions he has reached in his consideration of the role of Nimrod in the United Kingdom's and NATO's defence.

Mr. Wellbeloved

As I indicated in my reply to the hon. Member for Kings-wood (Mr. Walker) on 11th January 1977 —[Vol. 923, col. 461]—the RAF's Nimrod long-range maritime patrol force will remain effective for many years to come. As far as airborne early warning is concerned, as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence indicated to the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) on 14th December 1976—[Vol. 922, col. 654]—studies on the possible formation of a NATO AEW force based on the Boeing E3A AWACS aircraft are still in progress, although we hope that a decision will soon be reached within NATO. Until the matter is resolved we are continuing to fund the Nimrod AEW development programme.