§ Captain Kerby
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he is aware that in many naval air squadrons there are now more aircraft than there are aircrew, and that owing to the shortage of technicians Fleet Air Arm commitments should be cut back to the level where there are not more aircraft on naval air stations than may be reliably maintained; and what steps he is taking to correct the wastage-rate of retiring officers, which is greater than their qualifying rate.
§ Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu
Yes, there are shortages of aircrew and of maintenance ratings, but the Fleet Air Arm is meeting its commitments, and all its aircraft engaged in flying are properly maintained. As for aircrew, we are training many more in 1966 than we expect to lose, and a small number of R.A.F. aircrew are being lent to the R.N. to make good past recruiting shortfalls.