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Volume 300: debated on Wednesday 5 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the common air defence requirements specified in the European staff requirement for development agreed in 1987 indicating any subsequent amendments. [13861]

The original European Staff Requirement for Development of Eurofighter (ESR-D) was shaped by the context of the cold war, when the requirement was for an aircraft to counter massed raids of bombers under fighter escort. Following a major review, the ESR-D was reissued in January 1994 having been rewritten to reflect the radically changed political and military situation in Europe since 1987. The review took into account the dangers of regional instability, noting that a potential enemy may still have highly capable fighter aircraft; and that Eurofighter still needs to be capable of performing multiple roles on deployed operations. The aircraft offers a significant contribution to our defence capabilities.