HC Deb 21 October 1971 vol 823 cc881-2
18. Mr. Adley

asked the Minister of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the proposed purchase of 25 Jetstream aircraft by the Royal Air Force.

Mr. Ian Gilmour

We are considering purchasing a small number of twin-engined aircraft to replace the Varsity for pilot training. The Jetstream is one of the aircraft being considered.

Mr. Adley

Would my hon. Friend confirm that the only other competitor is an American aircraft, the North American Rockwell Aero-Commander? Will he recognise that if it is decided to choose the Jetstream this will give a welcome boost to Scottish aviation and will considerably enhance prospects of selling the Jetstream to civil airlines?

Mr. Gilmour

I am aware of what my hon. Friend says and I shall be delighted if a British aircraft can be accepted. It is impossible to rule out foreign aircraft at this early stage of our assessments.

Mr. Onslow

Will my hon. Friend accept that the House will be infinitely dismayed if an American aircraft is accepted? Is he aware that other considerations, over and above the apparent price, which enter into this—not least the opportunity of providing employment in the aerospace industry in places other than Scotland.

Mr. Gilmour

I am well aware of the considerations that my hon. Friend mentions. They will all be borne fully in mind.