HC Deb 11 December 1984 vol 69 c903
12. Mr. Duffy

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he is satisfied with the official reports on Exercise Autumn Train which took place in the Atlantic in November; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Stanley

Exercise Autumn Train 84 was this year's Fleet weapons training exercise. Some 20 Royal Navy and other NATO ships and submarines took part, as well as RAF Buccaneers, Nimrods and Phantoms. All participating units achieved considerable training value from the exercise.

Mr. Duffy

Will the Minister assure the House that the operational effectiveness of the Fleet and its aircraft was not seriously affected by a shortage of spare parts, notably for the Sea King helicopters which embarked with 814 squadron on the carrier Illustrious?

Mr. Stanley

There has been some difficulty in the supply of engine components for Sea King helicopters. That is partly a manufacturing problem. The overall stock of the Royal Navy is in pretty good shape.

Mr. Porter

Does my hon. Friend believe that the operational effectiveness of the Fleet was affected by the delay in ordering the type 22 destroyers? Does he accept that it is about time that the order went to Cammell Laird at Birkenhead?

Mr. Stanley

My hon. Friend has introduced a difficult issue. As was made clear in the debate on the Navy, we shall try to resolve this matter quickly.