HC Deb 12 July 1961 vol 644 cc380-1
22. Mr. Wall

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty when he expects the new assault ship to be laid down and to be launched.

23. Mr. Willis

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty what progress is being made with the construction of the assault ship.

Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing

We hope to invite tenders by the end of this month, and we shall then need time to consider the response before an order is placed. It is too early to say when the ship will be laid down and launched.

Mr. Wall

While accepting my hon. Friend's view that the Kuwait operations illustrate the success of the commando carrier concept, do they not also illustrate the fact that it is essential to have an assault ship capable of keeping up with the commando carrier and of landing both transport and armour? Will my hon. Friend press forward with the completion of this ship, and get on with the laying down of a second?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

It is important to get the tenders out first, then consider them, and then get the ship laid down before we consider a second.

Mr. Willis

As the Admiralty has known that such a ship has been required for many years now, has it not been very dilatory, and should it not now try to get the ship completed as quickly as possible?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

Considerable improvements have been effected during the period. We have taken the best lessons of American and other practice and have built them in the design of this ship which, we think, will be the better for them.