HC Deb 26 January 1988 vol 126 cc190-1W
Mr. Stern

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on progress in the development of a new naval anti-air warfare missile system.

Mr. Sainsbury

Development of the next generation AAW system is being pursued through two separate parallel international collaborative programmes; one led by the United States, the other being a European programme with equal participation by four nations including the United Kingdom. The United States-led programme commenced in October 1987 with participants' signatures of the memorandum of understanding. We hope very shortly to be in a position to sign the MOU for the European programme.

Both collaborative programmes will commence with a feasibility study phase at the end of which a further decision will need to be made on the way forward.

The purpose of these programmes is to provide an AAW capability effective against the evolving air threat (including anti-ship missiles) for service in the late 1990s.