§ Captain Kerby
asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what is the cost of the latest refit at Portsmouth of the aircraft carrier H.M.S. "Victorious"; and what is the present anticipated operational life of this ship;
(2) what was the cost of the recently completed refit of the aircraft carrier H.M.S. "Hermes"; and what is the present anticipated operational life of this ship;
(3) if he will estimate the present proposed operational life of the aircraft carrier H.M.S. "Ark Royal" and approximately when it is expected she will next undergo an extended refit;
(4) what decision has now been reached regarding the future of the aircraft carrier H.M.S. "Centaur", and if he will give details;
(5) if he is aware that a group of Royal Navy officers has inspected one or more aircraft carriers of the United States Navy's Essex class during the past few months; and what conclusions have been reached by his Department on the feasibility of operating such a ship within the Royal Navy.
§ Mr. Healey
Estimated costs of the current refits of "Victorious" and "Hermes" are about £2½ million and £10 million respectively. The future of the carrier force will be made known shortly.