HC Deb 19 May 1997 vol 294 cc16-7W
Mr. McNulty

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will announce the outcome of the competition for a weapon to meet the RAF's requirement for a beyond visual range air-to-air missile for Eurofighter. [709]

Mr. Spellar

After careful consideration of the responses we have received to the invitation to tender for missiles to meet Staff Requirement (Air) 1239 for a beyond visual range missile for Eurofighter, we have concluded that there is a need for further work to reduce risk in performance and time scale before we let a development and production contract. We therefore intend, subject to satisfactory negotiations, to place contracts with Matra British Aerospace (UK) Ltd. and Hughes (UK) Ltd. for project definition and risk reduction work on their respective solutions to the staff requirement. We expect to let these contracts in July and their duration will be about 12 months. We plan to make a contribution of £5 million to the costs of each contractor for this phase of the project.

Our intention is to ensure that Eurofighter enters operational service with the most cost effective equipment available.

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