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We177 Free-Fall Bombs

Volume 165: debated on Wednesday 17 January 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the life expectancy of the United Kingdom's WE177 free-fall bombs, before they become unserviceable.

The WE177 is subject to regular inspection, maintenance and refurbishment. It will remain in service for as long as it meets requirements for safety and serviceability.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of warhead development costs it is estimated would be spent in (a) the United States of America, and (b) the United Kingdom, for (i) the Trident warhead and (ii) the warhead for a tactical air-to-surface missile to replace the WE177 free-fall bomb.

It has been the policy of successive Governments not to reveal details of this nature. For a broad indication on Trident, I refer the hon. Member to the fifth report of the Defence Committee (Session 1988–89, pages 38 and 39). On a replacement for the free-fall bomb, no decision has yet been taken.