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Blue Steel

Volume 640: debated on Monday 15 May 1961

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asked the Minister of Aviation what progress is being made with the development and production of the Blue Steel missile.

I have nothing to add to the reply given to the hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Critchley) on 10th May.

Can the Minister say whether the production plans for this missile are up to time and whether the cost of the missile is now skyrocketing? Can he also say whether production is being held up by the American intervention in N.A.T.O. which is depriving us of a market for these missiles?

I do not know of anything that is preventing a market for these missiles. On projects of this kind which are very important from the military point of view, I do not think it is helpful to make periodic statements on exactly how they are going. Such statements can only be helpful to a potential enemy and can be of no assistance to anybody else. Therefore, beyond saying that production is proceeding normally, I would not propose to answer further.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the original plans were based upon finding an extra market for these weapons in N.A.T.O. and that this is now being frustrated, and is this not bound to have a serious effect upon home production?

Almost everything is based upon the hope of finding a future market somewhere. But this is a very important weapon. It is not just a commercial proposition; it is a military proposition.