HC Deb 28 November 1962 vol 668 cc379-80
9. Mr. Mulley

asked the Secretary of State for Air when he expects to make a decision on OR 351 for transport aircraft.

Mr. H. Fraser

I have nothing to add to my statement on 23rd November or to what my right hon. Friend, the Minister of Aviation told the House on the 26th.

Mr. Mulley

It is now about two years since the OR 351 was specified. There is great concern, both in the aircraft industry and outside it, about the delay in providing the Royal Air Force with adequate transport aircraft. Having regard to the enormous time which it takes from the word "go" to the actual delivery of an aircraft into service, has the delay been in the Air Ministry, or the Ministry of Aviation, or the Treasury or where? Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that he has a clear conscience on this matter?

Mr. Fraser

Yes, Sir. I have a clear conscience on this matter. No one is keener than I to get a decision, but there are various factors which have to be taken into account. As my right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation said the other day, it is hoped to be able to say something in the New Year about this project.

Mr. McMaster

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the delay could be reduced and the cost kept to a minimum by ordering a derivative of the Belfast for this purpose?

Mr. Fraser

I realise that that view is strongly held in Northern Ireland.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Is it the case that the specification for this aircraft is so complicated that it may well be many years before the Royal Air Force gets it, if it decides to order it at all? If orders were placed next year, when would deliveries take place?

Mr. Fraser

That is a difficult point. Since I took office I have ensured that the specification has been made as simple as possible, considering the requirements.

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