§ 11 and 12. Mr. Kershaw
asked the Secretary of State for War (1) for how long he has now been considering the project of the Vigilant anti-tank weapon; and when a decision may be expected;
(2) when he expects the Vigilant weapon to be in service with troops.
§ Mr. Profumo
Trials of Vigilant and the assessments of other light anti-tank missiles began in November last year. I have now decided to adopt Vigilant for the British Army. It will be in service in 1963.
§ Mr. Kershaw
Is my right hon. Friend aware that I was a little surprised to read the substance of that reply in the Press after I had put down the Questions? Secondly, does he consider that the rather long time which elapses before the adoption of a weapon which is generally agreed as being necessary is harmful to the Service, to the equipment 1336 concerned, and occasionally to export possibilities to other countries?
§ Mr. Profumo
I think that the more sophisticated the weapons become the longer must be the period between the time when we think they are necessary and the fruition of our plans. I saw the report to which my hon. Friend referred. It did not come from official sources. As my hon. Friend already had a Question on the Order Paper, I thought it right that my Answer to him should contain the first official confirmation of this order.