HC Deb 08 April 1971 vol 815 cc655-6
1. Mr. Wilkinson

asked the Minister of State for Defence from what aircraft types a selection will be made of the trainer to succeed the Varsity for pilot training in the multi-engined stream in Training Command, Royal Air Force; when will the choice be made; and when is the new twin-engined trainer expected to enter service.

The Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Royal Air Force (Mr. Antony Lambton)

We are considering possible replacements for the Varsity for pilot training but I have no statement to make at present.

Mr. Wilkinson

Does my hon. Friend agree that one of the first tasks to which his hon. Friend the Minister of State for Defence Procurement will have to address himself—and I welcome him on the Front Bench in his new position—is that of finding a replacement for the venerable Varsity, the "Super Pig" as it was affectionately known to whole generations of post-war aviators in the Royal Air Force? Is the type of aircraft he is envisaging something of the King Air type?

Mr. Lambton

As my hon. Friend says, the Varsity has been in R.A.F. service for 20 years, and it is, therefore, obviously necessary that it should be replaced. As to the type of replacement, the number of aircraft required is too small to justify special development, and we are, therefore, thinking in terms of adapting existing civil aircraft.

Mr. John Morris

Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that in the re-juggling of aircraft that has taken place in the Royal Air Force there will be no increase in the total money available for R.A.F. equipment?

Mr. Lambton

The costing has been considered.

Back to