Tornado Aircraft

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th December 1976.

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Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North 12:00 am, 14th December 1976

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the design brief can be performed by Tornados (MRCA) which have so far flown; when he expects the Tornados to reach 50 per cent. of their design brief; and what proportion of their original design brief will not be achieved by the production models of the plane.

Photo of Dr John Gilbert Dr John Gilbert , Dudley East

Performance data of combat aircraft is classified information. The evidence available from flight tests was a major factor contributing to the decision in July to authorise full production of the MRCA, and I am satisfied that the aircraft will meet the RAF's performance requirements.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

While thanking my hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask whether the Government will be able to cancel their orders for the Tornado if it does not achieve the speeds set out in the design brief?

Photo of Dr John Gilbert Dr John Gilbert , Dudley East

If it were to come to a question of considering cancellation my hon. Friend would wish to know that our provisional estimate of the expenditure already incurred and the further rundown and redundancy compensation payments arising from any unilateral withdrawal from the MRCA would be about £1,500 million.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Finsberg Mr Geoffrey Finsberg , Camden Hampstead

Will the hon. Gentleman do his best to "kill" these people who knock this magnificent aircraft? Will he do his best to get into full production, so that when the RAF is equipped with this plane we shall be in a position to offer it to our NATO Allies, who may wish to buy it after seeing its first-rate performance?

Photo of Dr John Gilbert Dr John Gilbert , Dudley East

I do not have quite such a bloodthirsty attitude as the hon. Gentleman. I certainly echo his views about the excellence of this aircraft.