Letter: Perils of Eurofighter

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Sir: Although the Eurofighter was first developed during the Cold War, as more nations develop their military capability such an aircraft today is as essential as ever, as highlighted in Bosnia and the Gulf.

The issue of jobs is very important. However, it is not the case that the UK has agreed to produce the Eurofighter aircraft solely to keep 14,000 jobs. Technology used on the Eurofighter can be transferred to future military and commercial aviation projects, such as the Future Large Aircraft programme and the next-generation Airbus. By carrying forward this technology the UK can provide thousands of high-quality jobs with a long-term future.

If the UK had ordered the American F-22 these UK jobs would be lost, and with them the technology which could be passed on to future generations. This would signal the end to the UK's military and commercial aircraft industry, and its position in the world market. Rather than investing in "flatpack" factories from the Far East, factories that can be closed down as soon as there is a draught felt in the market, surely it is better to invest in hi-tech industries which provide long-term jobs. Why squander this opportunity to invest in research and development when we hear so many observers claiming that this is an area which the UK has traditionally neglected?


(Chorley, Lab)

House of Commons

London SW1