HC Deb 25 May 1960 vol 624 cc418-9
5. Mr. Ross

asked the Secretary of State for Air the total cost, to date, of the Thor project.

Mr. W. J. Taylor

The capital cost to the United Kingdom so far is about £6 million. No exact figures are available of running costs during the build-up, but we estimate the annual cost for the whole force at between £4 million and £5 million.

Mr. Ross

Does not the Minister think that this money could have been much more wisely and more logically spent in terms of the defensive rôle of the Royal Air Force rather than on this missile which has all the weaknesses of one that has been discarded?

Mr. Taylor

I do not accept the feeling of the hon. Gentleman with regard to the better use of this money. The fact is that this missile will be effective during the period of its deployment.

Mr. Ross

Will it?

Mr. Collard

Would my hon. Friend agree that the Thor, together with the V-bombers, whether with a stand-off bomb or not, makes up an extremely effective deterrent of terrific power at the present time?

Mr. Taylor

I agree with that. The Thor is operational now, and is a useful and valid part of the deterrent, as I have just stated.