We have no proposals for the purchase of additional Nimrods at the present time. Shackleton aircraft specially converted for airborne early warning tasks over the sea entered service only this year. Their eventual replacement requires extensive study.
Is my hon. Friend aware that there is a dangerous gap in the defence system of this country, namely, our vulnerability to low flying aircraft, and that Nimrod can fulfil this rôle extremely well? The Royal Air Force has been pressing for some time for this gap to be filled. What action will be taken to fill this very serious defence gap?