§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will assess the feasibility of protecting naval forces with supersonic fighter interceptors.
§ Mr. Blaker
Arrangements already exist for land-based supersonic interceptors to protect naval forces in the NATO context. The possibility of developing an advanced shipborne VSTOL aircraft will be an option for consideration in due course. For the present, however, the air defence capability of the subsonic Sea Harrier has been amply demonstrated in recent weeks.