§ 2.35 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any of the ground tracking stations for the American navigational satellite system called Transit will be on Commonwealth territory, whether the Royal Navy will be able to benefit from this system, and, if so, whether any of the "certain other equipment" mentioned by Mr. McNamara in his budget statement to the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee this year will be carried in British Polaris submarines or other of Her Majesty's Ships.]
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (LORD) CARRINGTON)
My Lords, Her Majesty's Government has received no requests for an operational ground tracking station for Transit to be provided in the United Kingdom or any other territory for which Her Majesty's Government's consent would be required. I cannot speak for other Commonwealth countries. If such a request is received, it will be considered. Assistance in tracking during development has been given by the Ministry of Aviation establishment at Lasham, in Hampshire.
It is possible that British Polaris submarines or other of Her Majesty's ships would benefit from the Transit system, if they were fitted with the necessary equipment referred to by Mr. McNamara: no decision has yet been taken on whether we should seek to have British ships fitted with the necessary equipment to enable them to benefit from the Transit system.
§ LORD KENNET
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his Answer. If the British Polaris submarines are not fitted with this equipment, would it mean that they would be less able than the American Polaris submarines to know exactly where they were?
§ LORD CARRINGTON
Not necessarily, my Lords. There are other ways of doing this. There are other methods of determining your position with accuracy. I think it is a question of which is the best.