HC Deb 19 May 1958 vol 588 cc56-7W
53 and 54. Mr. Mason

asked the Minister of Supply (1) to what extent he is considering encouraging the development of a polymorph aircraft other than that at present under consideration by the Vickers-Armstrong Aircraft Company;

(2) if he is aware of United States interest in the development of the Swallow polymorph aircraft at present being designed by a British aircraft company; and to what extent his Department is to take an active and financial interest in its development.

55. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Minister of Supply if he will make a statement on the future of Dr. Barnes Wallis's variable geometry aeroplane.

57. Mr. Beswick

asked the Minister of Supply to what extent the research carried out at Weybridge on the design of the aircraft of so-called variable geometry is financed by his Department; what is the amount so far expended; and what is the future research programme for this project.

64 and 65. Mr. Ross

asked the Minister of Supply (1) what financial assistance was given, in what years, to aid the development of Dr. Barnes Wallis's aircraft, the Vickers Swallow;

(2) the present stage of development of the new aircraft, the Vickers Swallow.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

Research into the many problems involved in this concept had been proceeding over a period of ten years before Government financial support was withdrawn early last year, the reason being that, following the changes in defence policy announced in the Defence White Paper, no immediate military application could be foreseen. Up to then my Department had contributed about 80 per cent. of the cost and the company the remainder. Since Government support was withdrawn the company has continued the project at its own expense. My Department has kept in close touch with the company's work and has been considering the possibility of other practicable applications.

The Americans are considering whether or not to include a project incorporating these principles in their Mutual Aid Programme. No decision has yet been reached.