WA90 Ballistic Missile Defence Systems
House of Lords

28 Jan 1997 : Column WA90

Ballistic Missile Defence Systems

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether press reports are correct that they have been persuaded of the possible effectiveness and "value for money" to the United Kingdom of participating in a programme of US automatically-controlled and automatically-triggered laser weapons that might in the next century be installed in Boeing 747s, as envisaged by the US Department of Defense and by retired MoD Officials now in the employ of US firms; and, if so, what money costs are envisaged, payable by whom, and whether the political implications of these proposals have been examined other than by the Ministry of Defence.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe): Her Majesty's Government has not reached a decision on the possible effectiveness or value for money to the United Kingdom of any of the ballistic missile defence systems studied as part of the work which has helped to inform our wider ballistic missile defence policy considerations. A further, more detailed evaluation of all these systems would be needed if Defence Ministers were to decide that there was a national requirement for a ballistic missile defence capability.