Phantom Aircraft

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3 December 1969.

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Photo of Sir Gerald Nabarro Sir Gerald Nabarro , Worcestershire South 12:00, 3 December 1969

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many Phantom aircraft have now been delivered, and at what total sterling cost; what is the balance outstanding for delivery to complete the 170 aircraft in all; including spares, what will be the total net cost, excluding Rolls-Royce engines; and when the contract will be completed.

Photo of Sir John Morris Sir John Morris Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Defence Equipment)

All 170 Phantom aircraft have now been delivered. The sterling cost of Rolls-Royce engines, initial spares and other items of United Kingdom production for these aircraft is about £200 million. The remainder of the cost, including initial spares and support, is about £300 million in dollars.

Photo of Sir Gerald Nabarro Sir Gerald Nabarro , Worcestershire South

May the House have an assurance that this is the last American contract which will be placed for military aircraft and that orders for any future requirements will be placed in this country, where we are perfectly capable of manufacturing our own military aircraft?

Photo of Sir John Morris Sir John Morris Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Defence Equipment)

I can give no such assurance. As the hon. Gentleman knows, as regards the major project to which I referred earlier, on which we are now in the middle of the project definition stage, we are engaged in a collaborative venture with other countries. This is the choice open to us. On some matters we can go it alone, on others again we can have a collaborative venture with other countries. We cannot be expert in all things, and we cannot produce everything which our armed forces need; otherwise the R. and D. expenditure would be colossal.

Photo of Mr Julian Snow Mr Julian Snow , Lichfield and Tamworth

Can my hon. Friend say, without notice, when this contract was originally signed?

Photo of Sir John Morris Sir John Morris Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Defence Equipment)

As regards the Phantoms, the decision in principle on the naval version was taken by our predecessors, and on the Royal Air Force version the decision was taken by ourselves.