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Volume 957: debated on Tuesday 7 November 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his proposals for the main battle tank of the 1990s; and to what degree it will be standardised with those of the United Kingdom's main NATO allies.

Project definition has begun of a new main battle tank to replace the Chieftain from the late 1980s. The new tank will be required to match expected Warsaw Pact armoured and anti-armour capabilities well beyond the turn of the century and will be designed to the highest practicable standards of firepower, protection and mobility. Project definition will be based on a tank of conventional turreted design carrying a four-man crew, protected by Chobham armour, and mounting a British rifled bore 120mm. gun. In the interest of standardisation and interoperability with our NATO allies the possibility of a closer association between our project and their own tank replacement programmes will continue to be given particularly careful consideration. We shall also in any event seek to harmonise components with our allies wherever this is possible.