HC Deb 26 March 1969 vol 780 cc1606-7
21. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what additional training will be given to the Royal Air Force pilots who operate with the fleet once Royal Navy fixed-wing aircraft have been phased out.

Mr. Reynolds

R.A.F. aircrew operating with the fleet will receive joint classroom training in maritime tactics, preoperational live training in the air defence, strike and reconnaissance rôles, and squadron training in the same rôles with units of the fleet.

Mr. Wall

Can the right hon. Gentleman say, approximately, what percentage of the R.A.F. will be devoted to this task and what is to happen to the Fleet Air Arm crews who are already fully trained? Will they be transferred to the R.A.F.?

Mr. Reynolds

On the first part of the Question, I should like notice of it, but since the hon. Gentleman obviously wants an answer, I will write to him with what information I can let him have. On the second part, about the Fleet Air Arm crews, some have already been offered the option of transfer to the R.A.F. We are prepared to arrange that where necessary. Others might serve on a loan basis.

Mr. Alfred Morris

On the wider aspects of training, can we be assured that Her Majesty's Forces are being given adequate training in unarmed combat? Can we also be sure that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will be available to give his advice and experience in this?

Mr. Reynolds

If anything, the training in unarmed combat in the forces has improved since my right hon. Friend took his course many years ago.