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Strategic Technologies

Volume 407: debated on Monday 23 June 2003

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14.

If he will make a statement on the technologies which his Department has assessed as being of strategic importance to the future effectiveness of the UK's defence forces. [120555]

The Ministry of Defence has well-defined processes for identifying key technologies to support the United Kingdom's military capability. Examples of these have been enshrined in the defence technology centres, which involve collaboration with industry and will be used to bring technology forward. The MOD is continuously reviewing wider science and technology to assess the impact for defence.

May I express disappointment in the Minister's answer? He did not expressly state that the maintenance of a UK aerospace capability was central to our future defence needs. In the light of discussions said to be taking place about the future of BAE Systems and an American partner, what steps would the Department take, in the event of such a marriage occurring, to ensure that Britain maintained a proper military aerospace capability of its own?

That is the third time I have been asked that question, and I have nothing further to add to what I said earlier.