§ Lord Mulley
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Why the only all-British contender for the new RAF trainer contract has not, unlike the non-NATO, non-EEC entries, been invited to submit revised tenders and whether the British companies who have submitted foreign aircraft designs will be required to obtain assurances that are legally binding from their Swiss or Brazilian principals that they will be permitted to procure and manufacture the aircraft ordered by third countries as a consequence of the prestige conferred by the RAF contract in the interests of British exports and employment; and if such assurances are not forthcoming, whether they will re-examine the decision to exclude Firecracker from the final assessment.
§ Lord Trefgarne
The tenders from British Aerospace and Shorts offer clear-cut advantages in terms of the combination of cost and performance over the other two tenders, as I advised noble Lords on 19th December. Both companies have now been formally invited to submit best and final offers. Hunting Firecracker and AAC-Westlands have indicated, nevertheless, that they wish to submit revised bids and we have agreed that their proposals will be considered.
As part of our final evaluation we shall take account of the information provided by the British companies on the manufacturing arrangements they have made with their overseas partners for the sale of aircraft to third countries.