HC Deb 30 November 1972 vol 847 cc609-10
14. Mr. Winterton

asked the Minister of State for Defence what proposals he has to purchase further Nimrod aircraft to fill the early warning rôle against low-flying bombers as part of defence strategy.

The Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Royal Air Force (Lord Lambton)

We have no proposals for the purchase of additional Nimrods at the present time. Shackleton aircraft specially converted for airborne early warning tasks over the sea entered service only this year. Their eventual replacement requires extensive study.

Mr. Winterton

Is my hon. Friend aware that there is a dangerous gap in the defence system of this country, namely, our vulnerability to low flying aircraft, and that Nimrod can fulfil this rôle extremely well? The Royal Air Force has been pressing for some time for this gap to be filled. What action will be taken to fill this very serious defence gap?

Lord Lambton

I do not quite know to which gap my hon. Friend is referring.