§ 35. Mr. Douglas
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the effect of the Falklands crisis on plans for the future strength of the Royal Navy.
§ Mr. Blaker
The primary role of the Royal Navy remains the preservation of the security of the United Kingdom and NATO against the threat posed by the Warsaw Pact. In addition the Royal Navy will retain a capability to contribute to the preservation of our interests outside the NATO area. As my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Defence has said, we shall be considering over the coming months whether any adjustments or change of emphasis are needed to the Royal Navy's future programme within the overall framework announced last year. In the meantime, we shall replace all the equipment lost by the Services in the Falkland Islands conflict—not necessarily on a like for like basis—from funds which will be in addition to the 3 per cent. annual rate of real growth. We shall be considering this replacement programme in the next few months with a view to placing major orders by the end of the year.