HC Deb 17 November 1958 vol 595 cc826-7
36. Mr. Wall

asked the Minister of Supply what decision has been reached about the future of the Princess flying boats.

The Minister of Supply (Mr. Aubrey Jones)

None, Sir. Various possibilities are still being considered.

Mr. Wall

How many years is it since these aircraft were completed, and what future has my right hon. Friend in mind for them? Are they awaiting more powerful engines, or are they to be used as test beds either by ourselves or by our allies? Can we be given some idea of their future?

Mr. Jones

Negotiations are in progress between the relevant company and the American authorities on the possible use of the aircraft as a test bed for nuclear engines. While negotiations are in progress it would be wrong to decide to scrap the aircraft.

Mr. Beswick

Are we to understand that the fact that the aircraft might go to the United States for that purpose means that this country has no plans at all for using nuclear power for aviation purposes?

Mr. Jones

The hon. Gentleman will be well advised to await the outcome of the negotiations which are now taking place with the United States.