HC Deb 26 January 1955 vol 536 cc147-8
41. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Undersecretary of State for Air whether he will now reconsider the decision not to buy the Folland Gnat fighter aircraft in the light of the evidence sent him by the hon. Member for Aston.

Mr. Ward

As I told the hon. Member on 3rd November, we are interested in the Gnat in its developed form, but it is not possible to decide whether to order this aircraft until it has been thoroughly evaluated as a military weapon for the Royal Air Force.

Mr. Wyatt

As it is now discovered that the Hunter's guns will not work and are unlikely to be made to do so, and as it is now realised that the Swift will never be in operation, and as it is now understood that the P.1 is unlikely to be successful either, would it not be a good idea to order at least some prototypes of the Folland Gnat, which is admitted by the Air Ministry to be a very satisfactory machine, rather than go on buying expensive aircraft, which are all failures, at five times the price?

Mr. Ward

To begin with, I cannot accept the premise upon which that supplementary question is based. Secondly, it is quite a different thing to have a good flying machine and to have a good fighting weapon. We must be sure that the aircraft we order will be a good fighting weapon.

Mr. Shinwell

Is it not true that the Folland Gnat fighter aircraft has been rejected by N.A.T.O.?

Mr. Ward

I do not know whether it has been rejected by N.A.T.O. but I would like to make it clear that I am not now talking about the original version of the Gnat but about the developed version, which has not yet been built.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport.

Forward to