HC Deb 05 May 1965 vol 711 cc1328-9
1. Mr. Marten

asked the Minister of Aviation how many successful flights the TSR2 has made to date; and if he will make a statement.

The Minister of Aviation (Mr. Roy Jenkins)

The aircraft had to the date of its cancellation made 24 flights. I am currently considering with the manufacturers whether a continued flying programme would be worth its cost.

Mr. Marten

Can the Minister say what he has in mind about a continued flying programme?

Mr. Jenkins

I would rather not disclose details at present, but the manufacturers think that certain benefits might be gained from a flying programme and certain research information might be available. We will certainly look at that. We should like to make use of the aircraft, bearing in mind that we must not waste all the money which has been spent.

Mr. Marten

Could the right hon. Gentleman say how many aircraft might be involved?

Mr. Maude

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the Secretary of State for Defence, when we last discussed this matter, referred to the possibility that the all-weather reconnaissance equipment evolved for the TSR2 might be used in the event of a purchase of the F111? Would he bear in mind that there might be something to be said for continuing to use a test flight TSR2 to develop this equipment to that point?

Mr. Jenkins

I will certainly bear that in mind. In answer to the Hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten), two or three aircraft might be involved.

Mr. Lubbock

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many aircraft will actually be completed? Are they the two or three of which he speaks? Also, could he say what consultations he has had with the Bristol Siddeley company about use of the TSR2 in connection with the Concord research programme?

Mr. Jenkins

Two aircraft are complete, and one is nearly ready. I am in close touch with the Bristol Siddeley engine company to see whether the benefits which using the TSR2 experimentally might bring to the Concord programme would be worth the cost which would be involved.