§ Sir David Price
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what progress his Department has made in the application of laser technology to the defence needs of the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Pattie
Since the invention of the laser over 20 years ago the Ministry of Defence has had a large research and development programme to apply the unique properties of the laser to the needs of the armed services. A number of military systems which depend on lasers are now in service. MOD research has assisted in the build-up over that period of a high standard of expertise and capability in United Kingdom industry. Research and development continues in order to apply lasers to provide additional defence capability. Developments in laser technology do not always lead to military applications, but the Ministry of Defence is continuing to develop appropriate resources to keep abreast of such developments. The programmes concerned are a combined Ministry of Defence and industry activity, and United Kingdom industry has a significant capability in this area of technology.