HC Deb 03 August 1966 vol 733 c455
23. Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what aircraft will be used in the 1970s for air defence of maritime forces; and what arrangements have been made to train the Royal Air Force for this rôle.

Mr. Healey

Phantom aircraft will be used for air defence in maritime operations in the 1970's, both before and after the task is transferred from the Royal Navy to the Royal Air Force. R.A.F. aircrews are already trained in air defence duties. In particular, this rôle will be covered in the training given to R.A.F. crews at the Phantom Operational Conversion Unit and in subsequent exercises and squadron training.

Mr. Irvine

What steps has the right hon. Gentleman taken to make sure that the staff requirements are dealt with as well, as they would be entirely different from those which prevail at the moment?

Mr. Healey

We are taking all the necessary steps to cover that problem.

Mr. Dance

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that Gibraltar must play a great part in the training of Coastal Command aircrew, particularly under Mediterranean conditions?

Mr. Healey

I am well aware of the rôle of Gibraltar in our training and operational activities. I do not believe that this is a relevant consideration to the question that we are now discussing.