To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Wealden (Sir G. Johnson Smith),Official Report, 24 May, column 181, what is the basis for the statement that the Soviet Union is planning shortly to launch two types of sea-launched cruise missiles; and what protective measures are being taken against this launch.
§ Mr. Ian Stewart
As paragraph 615 of the Statement on the Defence Estimates 1988 explains, the Soviet Union is 119W developing a range of strategic cruise missiles for launch from ground, sea and air platforms. As part of this, the SS-N-21 submarine-launched land-attack cruise missile is now believed to be operational and the longer-range SS-NX-24 is at an advanced stage of development. For security reasons I am not able to comment on sources of information. We shall continue to maintain the minimum level and range of forces necessary to deter aggression of all kinds effectively.