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Tactical Combat Aircraft

Volume 983: debated on Monday 28 April 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether the British Aerospace Corporation together with the Avions Marcel Dassault and Messerschmidt Bolkow Blohm companies have been able jointly to define a future European tactical combat aircraft which will satisfy the requirements of Air Staff target 403 for the Royal Air Force;(2) whether it has been possible through the Independent European Programme Group or by other means to harmonise satisfactorily operational requirements and procurement time scales for future tactical combat aircraft for the French, German and Royal Air Forces.

Initially the Independent European Programme Group forum, but more recently trilaterally, the Air Staffs and procurement officials of France, Federal Republic of Germany and the United Kingdom have been discussing the harmonisation of their individual operational requirement, although suffi-for a new tactical combat aircraft. It has not been possible to agree a joint operational requirement, although sufficient common ground has been identified to enable the three countries to instruct their industries to carry out a joint study into the possibility of meeting the requirements of the three countries by a

The Government believe that the defence of Europe is inseparable from the defence of the Western Alliance as a whole, and see no value in any plans to establish a European nuclear deterrent separate from NATO.