HC Deb 09 July 1958 vol 591 cc386-7
29. Mr. Steele

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty to what extent any pre-production or production orders have so far been placed for the Blackburn N.A. 39.

The Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty (Mr. Robert Allan)

An order was placed in July, 1955, by the Ministry of Supply for a development batch of twenty N.A. 39 aircraft. No production order has yet been placed.

Mr. Steele

Can the Parliamentary Secretary tell us why no production order has yet been placed? In debates we have been promised that these aircraft would be forthcoming. Can he explain why they are not being ordered?

Mr. Allan

The aircraft flew successfully only at the end of April, and the time is not yet ripe for placing production orders.

Mr. Wall

Can my hon. Friend confirm that the trials are proceeding satisfactorily and that the Royal Navy still badly needs these aircraft?

Mr. Allan

Yes, Sir; certainly. The trials are satisfactory, and there still is a strong naval need for the N.A. 39.

Mr. Shinwell

Is there some internal controversy about the aircraft? Is not it correct to say that the Minister of Supply has had some difficulty with the Royal Air Force about the provision of the aircraft? Has that now extended to the Admiralty?

Mr. Allan

I have just said that the Royal Navy has a need for the aircraft. What goes on between the Ministry of Supply and the Royal Air Force is not a matter for me.

Mr. Steele

Can we have an assurance that the Royal Navy will order these aircraft and that its order will not be dependent upon their being sold in America?

Mr. Allan

I do not think there is any question of the order being dependent upon sales in America, though it would be nice if they could be sold there. The naval order is not dependent upon sales in America.