HC Deb 30 May 1960 vol 624 cc996-8
44. Mr. Strauss

asked the Minister of Aviation whether he has sought the cooperation of the French Government in the development of the Short SC1 vertical take-off aircraft as well as the one designed by Hawker.

Mr. Sandys

We have agreed in principle to promote collaboration on the exploitation of the vertical take-off principle in general. The Hawker P1127 is designed to meet a probable military requirement and is, therefore, receiving first attention. The potentialities of other technial solutions, such as that embodied in Short's research aircraft, the SC1, are also being jointly studied

Mr. Strauss

May we take it that the same amount of urgency and interest will go behind the development of the Short SC1, since it appears that from that plane there is a possibility of developing civil planes which are supersonic in speed and, therefore, of the greatest importance? Can we have an assurance from the Minister that he will do all he can to ensure that all the development effort necessary goes into that aircraft?

Mr. Sandys

I am very much intersted in it. I went to see it fly only last week. I assure the right hon. Gentle- man that we are trying to press ahead with the exploitation of the principle as quickly as we can, and the aircraft has proved the success of the principle. I must, however, make it clear that it is still in the research stage. For any practical use of this aircraft, we should need a new design of the aircraft itself and a new engine.

Mr. McMaster

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that Messrs. Short Brothers and Harland Limited will be included in any conversations with countries overseas on the future development of this aeroplane and that the future development of the Short SC1 will remain in the hands of Messrs. Short Brothers and Harland, who have successfully developed this plane, which is the first of its kind in the world?

Mr. Sandys

I am glad that my hon. Friend has reminded us of his interest in Belfast industry.