HC Deb 23 February 1959 vol 600 cc794-5
8. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Minister of Supply if he is satisfied that full consideration was given to the merits of the Bloodhound and the Thunderbird before the United States Hawk was ordered by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

Full information has been given to our Allies in N.A.T.O. on the Bloodhound and Thunderbird guided missile systems.

Mr. de Freitas

Is the Minister aware that there is criticism, not only in this country but also from our European allies, that the American Government give far greater backing to American aircraft salesmanship than do our Government, and will he acknowledge that it is really the duty of his Ministry to do everything it can to bring employment to our aircraft industry?

Mr. Jones

Certainly, Sir, I acknowledge that. I also acknowledge that from a technical point of view these two weapons are not inferior to the Hawk weapon. Indeed, again without being boastful, I think they offer considerable advantages over the Hawk. It is not for me to speculate on the reasons why other Governments may opt for the American weapon, but it must be recalled that the Americans offer considerable capital sums and our resources do not permit us to offer capital sums to quite the same extent.

14. Mr. Chetwynd

asked the Minister of Supply in what way the new versions of the surface-to-air weapons Thunder-bird and Bloodhound, announced in Command Paper No. 662, will be more advanced than the existing models.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

The new versions will offer advantages in range, height and speed and they will be able to deal with enemy aircraft that come in at low levels.

Mr. Chetwynd

Are we to understand that the existing versions are not satisfactory and that they could not intercept anything that is likely to come against them at the present time?

Mr. Jones

No, Sir. The hon. Gentleman is to accept that as time goes on one can develop more advanced versions, as with every other kind of weapon.