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Cruise Missile And Beam Technology

Volume 958: debated on Tuesday 21 November 1978

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5.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on British progress with cruise missile, laser beam and particle beam technology.

As I have stated on many occasions, we have no plans either to develop or to acquire cruise missiles. Limited research studies are taking place to enable us to participate in alliance discussions. As regards laser and charged particle beam technology, we are watching with interest developments in the United States and the Soviet Union but we have no similar programme of our own.

Will the right hon. Gentleman explain how he will deal with the SS20 without the cruise missile? Is it not essential that Britain should keep ahead in advanced weapon technology, and what co-operation is being achieved with the United States over these various weapon systems?

As the hon. Gentleman knows, the United States cruise missile programme is still under development. It would be wrong to assume that any particular weapon would be appropriate against a particular weapon on the other ide. Therefore, his suggestion does not necessarily follow.