§ 1. Sir Hugh Fraser
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what progress he can report on the provision of supersonic air cover for the Royal Navy when operating outside land-based defences.
§ Mr. Speed
Royal Navy Sea Harriers, which are, of course, subsonic aircraft, will provide air defence for the Fleet to supplement shipborne surface-to-air missile systems. According to the nature of operations—or exercises—being undertaken additional cover may be provided by supersonic combat aircraft embarked on United States Navy carriers.
Preliminary studies are in hand to identify a replacement for the Sea Harrier, 468W but it will not be necessary to make a final decision for some time.