§ Mr. Bishop
asked the Minister of Technology if production contracts have now been finalised for the purchase of the Hawker Siddeley Harrier vertical takeoff and landing aircraft by Her Majesty's Government; and what are the numbers of total value.
Negotiations with Hawker Siddeley Aviation Ltd. and Bristol Siddeley Engines Ltd. are continu- 310W ing on incentive contracts for development and supply of Harrier aircraft on the same basis as I indicated in the answer which I gave on 6th November. I am still hopeful that the discussions will shortly be brought to a successful conclusion, but negotiations for contracts of this complexity and cost necessarily take time. The absence of final agreement militates neither against the progress of this project nor against its ultimate cost as both firms have been given the necessary authority to proceed. It is not the practice to disclose the numbers of aircraft ordered for the Services, nor their value.