§ Dr. Strang
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he last met his counterpart in(a) Germany (b) Spain or (c) Italy to discuss progress on Eurofighter 2000; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Aitken
My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Defence met the Italian Defence Minister, the State Secretary in the German Ministry of Defence and the Spanish national armaments director at the Eurofighter 2000 international debut at Warton, Lancashire 109W on 4 May. They noted the major step forward in development which the commencement of the flight test phase represents, and the importance of the project both to our military capability and the European aerospace industry.
§ Mr. Menzies Campbell
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of Eurofighter's test flight; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Aitken
The first Eurofighter 2000 development aircraft made a successful maiden flight on 27 March 1994 in Germany followed closely by the second development aircraft in the United Kingdom on 6 April 1994.
The initial reports from the test pilots were very positive and both aircraft met their full test objectives successfully.
Since then the two aircraft have made a total of 12 flights without any significant problems: the EF2000 flight test programme is now well under way and although flight test evaluation is still in its early stages, the initial results are very encouraging. I have every confidence that the aircraft will live up to all our expectations.