HC Deb 26 March 1979 vol 965 cc60-1W
Mr. Trotter

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how much is being spent in total research and development in the current year and is proposed to be spent in 1979–80; and what were the figures for each of the last 10 years, together with the equivalent figure for each year at March 1979 prices.

Dr. Gilbert

The following table gives the figures for total research and development within the defence budget estimates in each year from 1969–70 to 1978–79 and as proposed for 1979–80, at the price base of the original estimate and expressed at the price base used in the 1979 statement on the defence estimates (Cmnd 7474).

Iran, and the number of further tanks for which material is available but not now required by Iran, together with the value of such unrequired orders, respectively.

Mr. Mulley

It is not the normal practice to give details of individual contracts. In general terms, however, a number of Chieftain tanks had already been delivered to Iran under this contract, and I am now considering how to dispose of a second batch of about 100 tanks of an improved designed called Shir I. We also have material for the first batch of more advanced Shir 2 tanks. The total value of the Iranian contract was about £1,250 million.

Mr. Churchill

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether any of the British Army of the Rhine's Chieftan tanks have been mothballed; what percentage of operational strength this represents; and when this decision was carried into effect, and for what reason.

Mr. Robert C. Brown

As I have explained to the hon. Member on a number of occasions, the only Chieftain tanks in mothballs—or DRICLAD preservation—are those in the War Maintenance Reserve. As its name implies, the purpose of this Reserve is to provide the additional equipment required in war and it has been a long-standing practice to provide such a reserve for all major equipments in service. Information about the size of the War Maintenance Reserve is classified.