To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement concerning progress with the European fighter aircraft.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are his latest proposals for investment into and the research and development of the Eurofighter project.
Project definition was successfully completed last year and we are now in a definition refinement and risk reduction phase with activities aimed at stabilising the design of the aircraft and identifying high risk activities. Parallel negotiations on commercial issues are progressing between the prime contractors and NEFMA, the international management agency. Action is in hand to secure agreement from the individual national authorities to launch development. The United Kingdom aims to have completed this process by the end of the year and, subject to a satisfactory conclusion here and in our partner countries, we expect to begin development work early in 1988.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will be in a position to place an order for the radar system for the European fighter aircraft.
Eurofighter is currently running a competitive tendering exercise on behalf of the four EFA nations. Given the difficult task of assessing the information associated with the competition, I would not expect a decision to be made until early spring next year.