To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what consultations his Department has held with British Aerospace in respect of the construction of six air combat manoeuvring system platforms in the North sea; and if he will make a statement;(2) whether his Department has held any discussions with or issued any guidelines to British Aerospace as regards the nationality of the tenderers for the contract to build air combat manoeuvring subsystem platforms in the North sea;(3) what information he has as to the locations of the air combat manoeuvring instrumentation system platforms in the North sea to be built by British Aerospace;(4) whether his Department intends to make use of the air combat manoeuvring instrumentation systems to be constructed by British Aerospace; and whether there will be any restrictions placed on use of this system by the defence forces of other nations;(5) what provision he has made for the cost of contracts which his Department may enter into in respect of the air combat manoeuvring instrumentation system;(6) whether the defence forces of any other country will be allowed to contract directly with British Aerospace in order to make use of the air combat manoeuvring system to be constructed in the North sea;(7) what information he has on the principal use of the air combat manoeuvring instrumentation system to be constructed by British Aerospace;(8) whether British Aerospace is working to any Government guidelines or function specifications as regards the air combat manoeuvring instrumentation project.
Further to my answer at column 365 on 28 March, I can confirm that British Aerospace has presented to my Department its unsolicited proposals to build, on a private venture basis, an air combat manoeuvring installation in the North sea. If constructed, use of this training facility by prospective customers would be a matter for the company within the terms of any applicable legal or other regulations. The details of British Aerospace's proposal are under study in this Department. No commitment of any kind has been made to the company and no funds have been provisioned against future use of such a facility by this Department. No guidelines have been given to the company about any technical specifications nor about any commercial aspect of the venture.