HC Deb 10 November 1958 vol 595 cc32-3
54. Mr. Mason

asked the Minister of Supply if he will make a statement on the future of the N.A.39 aircraft, particularly in reference to it fulfilling a rôle in the Royal Air Force; and whether, following his decision on the future of the N.A.39 aircraft in the Royal Navy, he has yet sought orders for this aircraft abroad.

The Minister of Supply (Mr. Aubrey Jones)

An initial production order for the N.A.39 for the Royal Navy has already been announced. I have nothing to add to the Answer given to the hon. Member by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Air last Wednesday about its possible use by the Royal Air Force. The manufacturers of the aircraft have been authorised to seek orders from a number of Commonwealth and other friendly countries.

Mr. Mason

When is this argument and this wrangling going to cease between the Minister of Supply, the Minister of Defence and the Secretary of State for Air regarding the future of this aircraft? Is it not possible for the Minister to encourage the Air Ministry to accept this aircraft following modifications until further consideration has been given to the N.A.39?

Mr. Jones

It is not for me to answer a hypothetical question about wrangles and alleged wrangling between the Minister of Defence and the Secretary of State for Air. I think the hon. Member should address such questions elsewhere.

Mr. Mason

What steps are being taken to encourage the R.A.F. to accept this aircraft?

Mr. George Brown

Does not the Minister agree that if a decision is not taken very soon there will not be a plane capable of operating at low level by the middle 1960s? Does he not agree that this delay is disgraceful? Is it not his business, or someone's business, to make up his mind?

Mr. Jones

Yes, Sir, but decisions on the requirements of the Royal Air Force are a matter for the Secretary of State for Air and not for me.