I will return on several occasions to that letter, which was disingenuous in several respects, and am grateful to my right hon. Friend.
The MOD has also invested £190 million in shaping a potential future unmanned combat air vehicle programme. BAE Systems has been our partner in that, and it led an industry team formed of Rolls-Royce, QinetiQ and GE Aviation. An unmanned combat air system programme could form part of a cost-effective solution in air-to-air and ground-to-air combat roles. That work includes the Taranis technology demonstrator, which is a world-class project and a testament to the UK’s advanced design, engineering and technology talents. It exhibits UK manufacturing capability at its very best.
We recognise and welcome the investment that the industry is making in technologies for unmanned air systems and encourage it to continue, so that it will have products that meet our needs and those of export customers. I have to say once again that the letter sent by BAE Systems to hon. Members does not appear to do justice to the partnership nature of the programme, because BAE Systems seems to take all the credit for it. The letter refers to the significant funding BAE Systems put in, but it does not emphasise the Government’s funding or the other three partner companies involved in the project. BAE Systems should be a little more modest from time to time in the claims it makes on behalf of the company.