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Trainer Jets

Volume 406: debated on Friday 23 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with Finmeccanica concerning (a) its proposals to supply Aermacchi jets to the Royal Air Force, (b) its commitment to build the jet in the UK and (c) its commitment to use Rolls-Royce as its engine supplier. [115119]

No discussions have been held with Finmeccanica. Officials have, however, held a number of informal discussions with Aermacchi in connection with our requirement for a future Advanced Jet Trainer. These discussions have been exploratory in nature. Accordingly, no commitments have been entered into either by Aermacchi or the Ministry of Defence.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the contractors who have been asked to provide proposals to supply trainer jets to the Royal Air Force; and by what criteria bids will be assessed. [115121]

A formal proposal has been received from BAE Systems following an initial unsolicited proposal in October 2001. Exploratory discussions have been held with both Finmeccanica and representatives of Lockheed Martin and Korean Aerospace Industries. However, neither has been invited to submit a formal proposal. We are currently considering the BAE Systems proposal. A decision on the way ahead is expected by the end of June 2003. A number of criteria will be taken into account, including economic, industrial and potential export factors as well as value for money for the taxpayer and the need to ensure that their proposal meets our capability requirement.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how the Government"s procedures regarding competitive tendering will apply in the case of the supply of trainer jets to the Royal Air Force. [115123]

We are currently considering whether to accept a proposal from BAE Systems to meet our requirement for an Advanced Jet Trainer or to acquire this capability through a competition. A decision on the way ahead is expected by the end of June 2003.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate his Department has made of the number of jobs that would be safeguarded in the event that Her Majesty"s Government were to award BAE Systems the contract to supply Hawk advanced trainer jets; whether the potential job losses resulting from a decision to put the contract out to competition will be taken into account by his Department; and if he will make a statement. [113905]

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment he has made of the effects on the workforce of BAE Systems if he does not accept its bid to meet the RAF"s advanced trainer requirement; [113997](2) if he will make a decision about the Hawk Advanced Trainer before the end of June; and if he will make a statement. [113996]

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proposals he has received from BAE Systems to supply trainer jets to the Royal Air Force; and if he will make a statement. [115122]

I refer the hon. Members to the answer I gave on 19 May 2003, Official Report, column 580W, to the hon. Member for Vale of York (Miss McIntosh).