HC Deb 22 January 1980 vol 977 c156W
Mr. Freud

asked the Secretary of State for Defence why thrust vectoring exercises do or should take place over land rather than over the sea.

Mr. Pattie

Among RAF aircraft only the Harriers have the capability of thrust vectoring in forward flight. The technique has been in use for some 10 years and is not intrinsically dangerous. The Harrier is also a relatively short range aircraft and those parts of the airspace over the southern North Sea which are within range of their base at Wittering already containa considerable density of other air traffic and airspace restrictions. For these practical reasons Harriers must continue to perform such training overland. Some other aircraft with longer range do, however, carry out a good deal of air combat training over the sea.