HC Deb 20 May 1963 vol 678 cc2-3
2. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Minister of Aviation what machinery exists to review the aircraft requirements of the Services and the Air Corporations with a view to ensuring that, consistent with meeting domestic needs, aircraft are designed with the object of securing the highest export potential.

Mr. Marten

So far as transport aircraft are concerned, this is one of the functions of the Transport Aircraft Requirements Committee. For other types of aircraft, the Ministry of Aviation itself is responsible for ensuring that considerations of export potential are taken fully into account in the framing of operational requirements and development policy.

Mr. Shepherd

Is my hon. Friend satisfied that this most important function is really being discharged at the level which ought to obtain? Does he realise that we cannot enter upon an unlimited number of projects and that it is, therefore, essential to go for those with high export potential?

Mr. Marten

That is so, but I am satisfied that the new generation of British civil transport has a high export potential. The aircraft include the V.C.10, the B.A.C.111, the de Havilland Trident and the D.H.125. On the military side, there is, again, the V.C. 10, the Comet, the Beagle and others, all of which are exportable.

Mr. Cronin

Bearing in mind that recent operational requirements for fighter and strike aircraft have made them so costly and complicated that it is difficult to find buyers outside this country, is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that the Air Ministry has in mind the export potential of aircraft it orders?

Mr. Marten

Yes. I am. I think that the Requirements Committee has taken fully into account the export aspect. But in military types there is a lot of give and take, and sometimes a requirement for our own needs cannot be compromised for the sake of export sales.