HC Deb 12 August 1966 vol 733 cc420-1W
Mr. Goodhew

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration he has given to the deferment of the placing of orders for some of the Royal Air Force requirement of P1127 vertical take off and landing aircraft; how many aircraft are involved; and what consideration he has given to the purchase of the United States LTV/A7 Corsair as a replacement.

Mr. Healey

There has been no change in the plan to replace the Hunter by a combination of the U.S. Phantom and the British P1127. As regards the numbers of the latter, I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer I gave on 3rd August to the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter).

Mr. James Davidson

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he proposes to cancel the order for United States Phantom aircraft for the Royal Navy because they are too heavy for the flight decks of existing aircraft carriers, or if the carriers will be modified to take the aircraft; when these modifications will be carried out; and at what cost.

Mr. Healey

Present plans are to modify two of our four existing aircraft carriers, H.M.S. "Ark Royal" and H.M.S. "Eagle", to carry the Phantom. The modifications will be carried out in the course of the "Eagle's" refit starting in 1970; and during the "Ark Royal's" refit planned to start at the end of this year.

The cost of the modifications cannot readily be separated at this stage from the cost of other work to be carried out during the refits.