§ 19. Captain W. Elliot
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what study has been made of the operation of vertical 1092 take-off aircraft from ships of the Royal Navy; what trials are due to take place; and if he will make a statement.
§ Captain Elliot
Has the Minister considered pressing on with these trials in other types of ship? Would he not agree that in future years the Navy will be bereft of its own air cover and that therefore the area in which it operates will be greatly diminished?
§ Mr. Foley
The question of air cover from aircraft carriers and from the shore is a matter which has already been answered. The hon. and gallant Member must be aware that proposals to go fully into this whole field would be expensive, would involve setting up a force of aircraft and support facilities. In terms of the rôle of the Navy in Europe, in the Mediterranean largely, this can be met by land-based aircraft.
§ Sir Ian Orr-Ewing
Would it not be wise for maximum flexibility in future to carry on with these trials, particularly with converted Tiger class cruisers and also Commando class carriers, because the more we know about this technique the better, and the more flexibility for our Forces?
§ Mr. Cronin
In view of the vulnerability of helicopters to attacks from fixed-wing aircraft and the possibility that ships of the Royal Navy will be employed operationally in oceanic rôles, away from land-based cover, will my hon. Friend pursue this matter further?