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Tornado Aircraft

Volume 972: debated on Tuesday 30 October 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will make a statement on the progress with the development of the air defence variant of the Tornado.

Considerable progress has been achieved in the development of the Tornado air defence variant. The rollout of the first development aircraft took place on 9 August this year, and its first flight took place at the weekend. The second and third development aircraft are due to fly during 1980.

Will my hon. Friend do everything within his power to advance the production programme for the air defence variant of the Tornado, particularly now that he has emphasised in public the importance that he places on this aeroplane for the air defence of the United Kingdom?

We are currently examining the possibility of bringing forward the in-service date of the air defence variant.

Will the Minister challenge the figure of £600,000 for training one Tornado pilot.

I would not challenge the figure. If anything, I would think that the figure is very probably understated.