European Fighter Aircraft

Defence written question – answered on 17th October 2011.

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Photo of Graham Jones Graham Jones Opposition Assistant Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) what discussions (a) he and (b) his officials have had with their counterparts in (i) HM Treasury and (ii) the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on a slow-down in orders for tranche 3A of the Eurofighter; and when such discussions took place;

(2) what discussions (a) he and (b) his officials have had with BAe systems on a slow-down in orders for tranche 3A of the Eurofighter; and when such discussions took place;

(3) what discussions (a) he and (b) his have had with their counterparts from partner core nations on a slow-down in tranche 3A of the Eurofighter; and when such discussions took place;

(4) whether his Department has (a) undertaken and (b) evaluated any impact assessment on the potential effects on (i) levels of employment and (ii) the economy of a slow-down in orders for tranche 3A of the Eurofighter; and when any such assessment was made;

(5) when the meeting took place which decided to slow down production of tranche 3A of the Eurofighter; and who represented his Department at that meeting.

Photo of Peter Luff Peter Luff The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

A proposal was made in May 2010 by the Eurofighter GmbH consortium to slow down rate of production of Typhoon Tranche 3A aircraft for all four partner nations. The Typhoon partner nations agreed to this proposal in July 2011.

The agreement on production slowdown aims to protect the industrial capacity of the Eurofighter partner companies to service export orders for Typhoon while meeting the requirements of the partner nations. The UK Government are fully committed to the Typhoon programme and potential exports, and recognises the wider benefits that these bring to the UK economy in terms of revenue and jobs for both the short and long term.

The proposal was agreed by Ministers and by officials, both within the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and with our Typhoon international partners. Officials from the UK Trade and Investment's Defence and Security Organisation provided some input to the issue, but were not involved in this decision as it falls within the MOD's delegated authority. HM Treasury was also not involved in this decision for the same reason. The Eurofighter partner companies, which include BAE Systems, were instrumental in negotiating acceptable arrangements with the partner nations from the outset.

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