HC Deb 03 May 1923 vol 163 cc1601-2
52. Mr. HARRIS

asked the Secretary of State for Air what are the relative strengths of the air fleets of Great Britain, France, Italy, and the United States of America; what are the number of aeroplanes each of these countries have now in commission and constructing, and what is their personnel; and whether he can state the number of pilots on the fighting strength of each country?


As regards the air services of Great Britain and France, I would refer the hon. Member to the figures which I gave in this House in my speech on the Air Estimates on 14th March and also to my reply on 27th February last to the hon. and gallant Member for Maidstone.

As regards Italy, the air service is undergoing a process of reorganisation as a result of the recent decision of the Government of that country to establish a unified Air Force, which will absorb the separate air services of the Army and Navy. Consequently, no reliable figures can at present be given.

As regards the United States of America, I understand that the number of serviceable aircraft in commission, excluding training machines, is approximately 500, while the number of pilots and observers in the air services is about 1,200.

As regards the number of aircraft actually under construction for the various air services, no figures are available for France, Italy, or the United States of America, and it is not in the public interest to give the numbers for this country.


Has the Air Ministry considered the calling of a conference on the same lines as the Washington Conference for limiting armaments with regard to the aeroplane fighting services?


Yes; a proposal of that kind has always been in my mind.