HC Deb 13 November 1968 vol 773 c391
18. Rear-Admiral Morgan Giles

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when it is intended that H.M.S. "Kent" will be taken in hand for boiler repairs.

Dr. David Owen

As a result of the decision which we have now taken not to convert H.M. Ships "Kent" and "London" to carry Sea Slug II, the former will be given a long refit starting towards the end of 1969, in the course of which these repairs will be undertaken.

Rear-Admiral Morgan Giles

As the ship's boilers have been completely out of action for three months already, is the delay, to which the Minister referred, due to financial considerations affecting this financial year, or due to shortage of dockyard capacity?

Dr. Owen

The main reason for the delay is the change in the decision not to carry Seaslug II. There are still manning difficulties, but these are only a part of the reason.

Mr. Cronin

Is my hon. Friend aware that I spent three days in H.M.S. "Kent", when she was taking a most vigorous and effective part in a N.A.T.O. exercise, so that the defect in the boilers can hardly be of real importance, and that, therefore, the delay is not of real consequence?

Dr. Owen

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. Of course, there is only a slight reduction in her maximum speed as a result of this boiler damage.