HC Deb 24 February 2003 vol 400 c301W
Dr. Julian Lewis

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the value of equipping future Type 45 destroyers with land-attack cruise missiles. [98236]

Mr. Ingram

As was made clear in the SDR New Chapter in July 2002, in post-Cold War conventional military operations there has been an increased emphasis on the need for precision in the use of force, to minimise unintended casualties and accidental damage.

The ability to conduct covert stand-off reconnaissance and surveillance, the accurate pin-pointing of targets, the updating and communication of targeting information in near real time and the ability to strike hard with a high degree of precision, will all be important. Land attack cruise missiles can play a key role in such a scenario. This capability is presently provided by submarine-launched Tomahawk missiles.

The principal role of the Type 45 Destroyers will be Anti-Air Warfare. However, they are being designed and built with significant space and weight margins to enable incremental acquisition, should an emerging requirement necessitate a different equipment fit. Our requirements are being kept under review and, under such circumstances, the design could be modified to incorporate improved land attack capabilities, including a land attack cruise missile system.

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