HC Deb 13 July 1959 vol 609 cc3-4
4. Sir A. V. Harvey

asked the Minister of Supply on what date the Argosy type 660 aircraft were ordered; and how many modifications have been requested by Service Departments since the negotiations commenced.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

The contract has not yet been placed, but negotiations are far advanced. As regards the second part of the Question, the Royal Air Force is to have the military, not the civil, version of this aircraft, and the past few months have been spent by the firm, my Department and the Air Ministry in working out the details of the military specification.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Whilst thanking my right hon. Friend for what he has told us, may I ask whether he recalls that on 26th January this year, in answer to a Question of mine, he said that he hoped that an order would be placed for twenty or thirty of these aircraft within three months. It is now six months since then. The firm wants work very badly. Will my right hon. Friend impress on the Secretary of State for Air that the Services will go on asking for modifications unless someone puts his foot down and says that the aircraft has to be built?

Mr. Jones

Yes, I recall what I said months ago. I freely confess that I was somewhat optimistic. I had not taken sufficiently into account the difference between the military version and the civil version. On the other hand, I am reasonably satisfied that employment in the factory is not affected and that any unemployment arising is due to other causes.