§ Lord Kennet
asked Her Majesty's Government:
When they signed a memorandum of understanding for United Kingdom participation in the United States Joint Advance Strike Technology programme (which might according to Mr. Freeman, House of Commons, 4th May, col. 463, provide a replacement both for the Royal Navy's Sea Harrier aircraft and for a Tornado GR4 replacement), what international political context they anticipated at the time these aircraft might enter service.
§ Lord Henley
A Memorandum of Understanding for United Kingdom participation in the United States Joint 73WA Advanced Strike Technology programme is under negotiation but has not yet been signed. Her Majesty's Government recognise that the international political situation is unpredictable, particularly over the long timescales necessary to bring new combat aircraft into service. The approach to such equipment investment decisions, as described on page 60 of the Statement on the Defence Estimates 1995 (Cm 2800), is to seek capabilities which offer flexibility, mobility and utility across a range of likely military tasks.