HC Deb 02 April 1987 vol 113 cc568-9W
Mr. Dykes

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the discussions being held between his Department and the General Electric Company on the renegotiation of the supply contract for the Foxhunter radar system.

Mr. Archie Hamilton

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for South Ribble (Mr. Atkins) on 1 April.

Mr. Robert Atkins

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects Foxhunter radar to be fully operational in Tornado F2/3 squadrons of the Royal Air Force; what delays have occurred in this contract; and what financial penalties will be incurred by the manufacturer.

Mr. Archie Hamilton

[pursuant to his reply, 16 March 1987, c. 376]: A contract for development of the Foxhunter radar for the Tornado air defence aircraft was placed with GEC Avionics in 1976 on a cost-plus basis. At that time the development phase was due to be completed by 1981. Subsequently a fixed price production programme for an interim standard of the radar was agreed with GEC Avionics. Deliveries of the interim radar have been made since early 1986. The total Ministry of Defence requirement is for 200 radars including parts. (A further 32 radars have been ordered to meet the requirements of Saudi Arabia.)

The Foxhunter radar was the first airborne pulse doppler radar to be developed in the United Kingdom, and inevitably some technical obstacles were encountered during the course of development. The radar does not meet all the requirements of the Royal Air Force, but radars to an agreed interim standard have already been delivered.

My Department is at present negotiating new contract arrangements for the programme, to implement a set of agreed modifications to achieve the required performance. Discussions have been held with the company on management aspects and the payment and reporting conditions that my Department will require as part of the contract conditions. My Department and GEC Avionics are currently negotiating towards a firm price for this work, with the aim of placing a new contract with GEC Avionics by the autumn of this year.