§ 13. Mr. Willis
asked the Civil Lord Lord of the Admiralty what progress has been made in the design studies of the next generation of aircraft carriers; and whether a decision has yet been made to build them.
§ Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing
Design of the replacement carrier is going ahead in accordance with the time table. No decision has yet been taken to order the ship.
§ Mr. Willis
Can the Civil Lord say whether this programme will be affected by the Polaris programme? Secondly, in view of the possibility of using vertical take-off aircraft on these carriers, are any trials being carried out at present in conection with the use of these aircraft on aircraft carriers?
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
It is a little too early to say, but I hope that the design staff would not be "robbed" or transferred from the aircraft carrier programme to the Polaris programme. However, as I have said, it is too early to say. On the second point, it is true that we are extremely interested in the 1127 aircraft. It was due to undertake deck landing trials in the last two days. I only hope that the weather will co-operate more closely in future so that we can get on with these trials.
§ Mr. P. Williams
Can my hon. Friend say whether he is interested also in the 1154, the supersonic version?
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
Did I understand the hon. Gentleman to say that the aircraft carrier programme may be cut because of the Polaris agreement?
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
I said that I would not like to guarantee at this stage that it would not be cut. I said that we hope to recruit extra design staff to undertake the Polaris programme. It might be necessary to make some small correction.