HC Deb 15 February 1965 vol 706 cc843-4
39. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when surface-to-surface missiles will be available in Her Majesty's ships.

Mr. Healey

There are no plans at present to equip Her Majesty's ships with a surface-to-surface guided weapon system.

Mr. Wall

Is it not a fact that the Soviet and Indonesian navies are equipped with these weapons? In view of the shortage of British aircraft carriers, should we not at least be carrying out design studies to produce our own surface-to-surface weapons?

Mr. Healey

We are reviewing the need for such weapons. But so far we find no reason to dispute the view of the previous Government that the best weapon of this nature is the carrier-borne aircraft.

Commander Courtney

Is it not also a fact that, unless a convoy or a task force is accompanied by an aircraft carrier, in the present circumstances it cannot compete against certain conventional enemy surface forces?

Mr. Healey

No. As a general statement, this is not a fact.