§ 28. Mr. Robert Atkins
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he is satisfied with progress on the European fighter aircraft project; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Archie Hamilton
The European fighter aircraft project is making satisfactory progress. In October my right hon. Friend signed the general memorandum of understanding for the programme with his fellow Defence Ministers from Germany, Italy and Spain. The international project definition phase ended in September and the nations are currently evaluating the outcome, with a view to deciding whether to proceed to full development, which is currently planned to begin in the latter half of next year. In the meantime industry is continuing to work on risk-reducing activities with the aim of refining the design of the aircraft and engines.