HC Deb 08 November 1967 vol 753 c997
1. Mr. James Davidson

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what rôle is intended for the F111K aircraft that cannot equally well be fulfilled by the Phantom F4.

The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Denis Healey)

The F111K is needed for high-level reconnaissance and for strike missions which require greater range /payload or greater all-weather capability than the Phantom F4 possesses.

Mr. Davidson

While thanking the Secretary of State for that answer, may I inquire why, as the intention was for the F111 to fill the gap up to the time the AFVG came into operation and as the projected range of the AFVG was not to be greater than that of the Phantom, this rôle could not be fulfilled by the Phantom and all the remaining V-bombers in view of our reduced commitments east of Suez?

Mr. Healey

I have explained that the Phantom cannot do the things that the F111 can do. In particular, it has no high-level reconnaissance capability whatever. The F111 was not only designed to fill in until the AFVG came in: it was to supplement the V-bombers until 1975 and the AFVG after that.