HC Deb 03 April 1963 vol 675 cc435-6
20. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty what progress is being made in research into hydrofoil design; and whether orders are being placed for prototype hydrofoil craft for the Royal Navy.

Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing

The Royal Navy has not commissioned any current United Kingdom research into hydrofoil craft, or ordered any prototypes. We prefer to develop the hovercraft which in our view offers greater versatility and promise in possible naval roles. However, I understand that the Ship Division of the National Physical Laboratory is now actively engaged on behalf of the Royal Canadian Navy in the second stage of an extensive investigation into the hydrodynamic design of a large hydrofoil ship.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Is my hon. Friend aware that Russia, America and Italy are running hydrofoil craft which can do 50 knots? Could not these be suitable for ships' tenders in this country? Could not the British Navy purchase one for a few thousand pounds? If these experiments were successful might not, say, the Royal Barge run on hydrofoil as an experiment?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

We are certainly watching the development of the hydrofoil but, as I said, the versatility of the ground effect machine, or hovercraft, has special attractions for us.