§ 4. Mr. Emrys Hughes
asked the Secretary of State for Air what is now the cost of training a V-bomber pilot and the various members of the crew who would be entrusted with the task of dropping a hydrogen bomb.
§ The Secretary of State for Air (Mr. George Ward)
V-bomber aircrew, apart from the air electronics officer, are selected from personnel who have completed operational tours on other types of aircraft. The direct and indirect cost of their subsequent specialist training on V-bombers, up to the time of joining V-bomber squadrons, is about £150,000 for the five crew members.
§ Mr. Ward
It is, but I think that it might, perhaps, help to put it into proportion if I remind the House that, while the cost of one Valiant and its crew is as much as a war-time Lancaster squadron of sixteen aircraft, in one sortie a Valiant could hit harder than the whole of Bomber Command hit Germany during the whole of the last war. It is that sort of background which puts these training costs into perspective.
§ 5. Mr. Emrys Hughes
asked the Secretary of State for Air upon what grounds he bases his estimate that the V-bombers could bomb Moscow and then return to this country.
§ Mr. Hughes
Is the assumption made by the Under-Secretary during the last debate itself based on the assumption that the Russians have no aircraft and no defences, and that the aerodromes will be here when they return?