HC Deb 06 January 2003 vol 397 c50W
Mr. Gerald Howarth

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Sea Harrier FA2 in providing air supremacy protection for the Harrier GR7/9 when conducting ground attack missions against land targets. [86439]

Mr. Ingram

Air supremacy involves the complete denial of airspace to an opposing force, allowing operations to continue unhindered, which involves immense effort beyond the scope of any single aircraft type. The Sea Harrier can effectively contribute to the achievement of air supremacy as part of a larger coalition effort.

Air superiority is the suppression of effective enemy use of the air environment, usually within time and space limitations, and can be achieved by a variety of Air Defence aircraft, depending on the strength of the opposing forces. The ability of the FA2 to offer air superiority and protection for the Harrier GR7/9 while conducting ground attack missions is assessed as effective, either in isolation or with other Air Defence aircraft types.