Helicopter Procurement

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th June 1986.

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Photo of Mr Paddy Ashdown Mr Paddy Ashdown , Yeovil 12:00 am, 17th June 1986

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on future helicopter procurement.

Photo of Mr John Lee Mr John Lee , Pendle

As in all aspects of defence procurement, our objective in future helicopter procurement will be to meet the forces' requirements for future helicopters and to obtain the best value of money for the taxpayer, with international collaboration where appropriate.

Photo of Mr Paddy Ashdown Mr Paddy Ashdown , Yeovil

The Minister will recall that on 26 April he said that the Government would do all that they could to ensure Westland's future capabilities and position. Is he aware that the company's most pressing need at present, in planning for the future, is to know with clarity what the position is with regard to the support helicopter for the Army? Will the Minister say when the review for that order will be completed and when a decision will he announced?

Photo of Mr John Lee Mr John Lee , Pendle

I know the position at Yeovil. I was there for the commissioning of the EH101 simulator last month and I saw the situation on the production lines. Therefore, I am cognisant of the position. The conceptual study is under way and it is the intention that it will report to the Chiefs of Staff in the autumn. We would hope for a decision probably early in 1987.