Helicopters

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th February 1987.

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Photo of David Heathcoat-Amory David Heathcoat-Amory , Wells 12:00 am, 24th February 1987

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he has reached a decision on future helicopter needs for the Army; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Sir Archie Hamilton Sir Archie Hamilton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Procurement)

I refer to the answer which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence gave earlier to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown).

Photo of David Heathcoat-Amory David Heathcoat-Amory , Wells

Would it help this issue if a decision was reached on whether the RAF or the Army controlled battlefield helicopters in future? The present division of responsibility is causing confusion in defence policy.

Photo of Sir Archie Hamilton Sir Archie Hamilton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Procurement)

I know that this issue has been raised before and we have considered it. However, I do not believe that any changes are envisaged at the moment.

Photo of Mr Keith Hampson Mr Keith Hampson , Leeds North West

What progress is being made with the NH90? There was a great drive behind that European collaborative machine 18 months ago, but it seems, more or less, to have disappeared from sight.

Photo of Sir Archie Hamilton Sir Archie Hamilton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Procurement)

The NH90 is still under consideration with our European partners.

Photo of Mr Paddy Ashdown Mr Paddy Ashdown , Yeovil

In making a decision about Army helicopter procurement, will the Minister assure the House that he will afford the British services in Germany the same level of mobility as is enjoyed by other NATO forces on the Western front?

Photo of Sir Archie Hamilton Sir Archie Hamilton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Procurement)

The air mobility of British forces in Germany is a matter that we have to take into account when we look to our ordering requirements.

Photo of Mr James Spicer Mr James Spicer , West Dorset

My hon. Friend has heard the Opposition voice their dislike of the Black Hawk helicopter. Will he give an undertaking that the Ministry of Defence will do all it can to encourage overseas orders for the Black Hawk to be built at Yeovil?

Photo of Sir Archie Hamilton Sir Archie Hamilton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Procurement)

There are a number of export opportunities for the Black Hawk, one of which is in Sweden. We are giving all our support to that.