HC Deb 28 January 1959 vol 598 cc1040-1
5 and 94. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Secretary of State for Air (1) what principles are followed in deciding the markings to be painted on aircraft about to be used in military operations;

(2) what principles the Armed Forces follow at the time of military operations when marking their operational equipment so as to distinguish it from those of other forces.

Mr. Ward

I will, with permission, answer together this Question and Question No. 94 addressed to the Minister of Defence to which I have been asked to reply.

So far as aircraft are concerned, certain markings such as R.A.F. roundels are always carried. Additional markings for a particular operation must be readily distinguishable from both ground and air; must be easy to apply; must not be good aiming marks; and must be different from other signs used for ground-to-air recognition.

Mr. de Freitas

If these principles are followed, how was it that at the time of the Suez operation the R.A.F. adopted markings which were already in use by Israeli aircraft in that operation? Was it just a coincidence?

Mr. Ward

These were markings adopted by the Royal Air Force without reference to anyone. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] There was nothing new about that. Special markings were also adopted for the Normandy landings on D-day.

Mr. Paget

How was it that these special markings for this operation happened to be adopted by the Israelis before our aircraft took off? Were the Israelis not informed what our markings would be?

Mr. Ward

Not by us.