asked the Minister of State for Defence what representations he has received from the French Government regarding alterations to the numbers of Anglo-French Jaguar aircraft required by the French Navy; and if he will give an assurance that there will be no change in the volume and value of the work allocated to Great Britain in this programme.
Has my hon. Friend's attention been drawn to the widespread publicity given in the French and British technical Press to impending cancellations of this French naval order? In view of the disquiet which this has aroused, will he approach the French Government and ask them to make a formal public declaration of their continued support for the order?
There is no doubt about the French Government's general support for the Jaguar order. However, the exact number they require is a matter for them. I remind my hon. Friend that production arrangements for the Jaguar are aimed at ensuring that work is shared in proportion to requirements. If, therefore, French requirements were significantly reduced, steps would be taken to correct the balance of work.