HC Deb 06 November 1968 vol 772 cc102-3W
Captain Kerby

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how much was spent on preparing the carrier H.M.S. "Eagle" to operate the Phantom aircraft during her previous refit; how much work was left outstanding on completion of the refit; and what is the estimate cost of completing the work as originally planned during the ship's current refit.

Dr. David Owen

No work was included in H.M.S. "Eagle's" 1966–67 refit as preparation for the operational use of Phantom aircraft. One small item, costing £750, was undertaken to permit trial launches of a lightly loaded Phantom to gain advance experience before "Ark Royal" is commissioned.

To equip H.M.S. "Eagle" in 1971 to operate Phantom aircraft would require an eighteen-month refit costing £15 million of which £3 million could be attributed to Phantom requirements. With the carrier phase out it would not be practicable to undertake this work within the planned remaining life of the ship.