HC Deb 08 December 1981 vol 14 c712
5. Mr. Brotherton

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he now expects Her Majesty's ship "Ark Royal" to enter service.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces (Mr. Jerry Wiggin)

In the mid-1980s.

Mr. Brotherton

In the light of my hon. Friend's reply to a supplementary question by my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Sir P. Wall) to question No. 1, that carriers are available to reinforce the Northern front, is he aware that "Illustrious" is behind schedule and that we need at least two carriers? Will he therefore take this opportunity categorically to deny reports in the press that discussions have taken place between the British Government and the Government of Australia about the sale of "Invincible" to that country?

Mr. Wiggin

No, I cannot deny that. The problem is well understood and will certainly be taken into account in any timings.

Mr. Hal Miller

What aircraft will be available to fly on "Ark Royal" when she comes into service? Has permission been given for the Royal Navy to order Sea Harriers and helicopters?

Mr. Wiggin

There will be Sea Harriers and Sea Kings, but there is as yet no clearance for additional aircraft.