asked the Secretary of of State for Defence what plans Her Majesty's Government have, in the light of the tenfold increase in the Soviet air threat in the past five years, for the strengthening and modernisation of the United Kingdom's fixed-wing air defences prior to the introduction into service of the Tornado ADV in 1986 or beyond.
The question is based on an assessment of the threat which does not coincide with our own estimates. However, we recognise there has been an increase in the threat, and we have made a range of improvements in our air defences to meet this. For the future, we plan to match the developing threat by continuing to increase the effectiveness of our fighter forces. Improvements include new and more powerful air-to-air missiles, more airborne tanker support for the fighters, and better air-borne and ground early warning radars to improve the control and direction of fighters to meet an attack.