HC Deb 03 April 1963 vol 675 c428
9. Mr. Cronin

asked the Minister of Defence what part the TSR2 aircraft is intended to play as part of the British or North Atlantic Treaty Organisation strategic nuclear deterrent.

Mr. Thorneycroft

The TSR2 is capable of both a conventional and a nuclear role. The question of whether it is strategic must depend upon the nature of the target attacked. Some of the aircraft will no doubt be offered for assignment to N.A.T.O. on suitable terms.

Mr. Cronin

Could the Minister of Defence state definitely whether this aircraft could reach the capital of a potential aggressor without refuelling and return? Could he do this for two reasons—first, to increase the deterrent effect of the aircraft, and, secondly, to reassure the public as to the authenticity of the Government's very recent claim that this is indeed a strategic nuclear bomber?

Mr. Thorneycroft

The aircraft could clearly be used in a strategic role, but I would say nothing which would give an indication of its precise range.