HC Deb 19 November 1996 vol 285 cc503-4W
Mr. Peter Atkinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made since the signature last December of the joint advanced strike technology memorandum of understanding with the United States. [5104]

Mr. Arbuthnot

The United States Department of Defence announced on 16 November the selection of two main contractors, Boeing Defense and Aerospace Group and Lockheed Martin, to carry out the concept demonstration phase of the proposed joint strike fighter aircraft programme. The concept demonstration will be carried out against a requirement to whose formulation the UK has contributed. The United kingdom has now arranged to participate in the phase with a view to the possible purchase of the short take-off, vertical landing version of the aircraft as a successor to the Royal Navy's Sea Harrier in the second decade of the next century. The concept demonstration is expected to cost $2.2 billion and will include the construction, by each of the two contractors, of flying demonstration aircraft. The United Kingdom will contribute $200 million to the phase and we expect a significant share of the work to be carried out by British industry.