HL Deb 14 June 1978 vol 393 cc496-7WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

  1. (a) What are the criteria, both strategic, tactical and environmental which will decide which airfield will be chosen for the additional squadron of American KC-135 tanker aircraft;
  2. (b) whether, in view of the comparatively sparsely populated area in Lincolnshire, especially round Waddington, they will issue a statement forthwith that these aircraft will not be based at Fairford or Brize Norton; and
  3. (c) whether they will confirm that the same environmental reasons which precluded Greenham as a base for these aircraft are not similar to those at Fairford and Brize Norton.


The basic airfield requirements are a runway length of 10,000 ft. with a 1,000 ft. over-run, and taxiways, manoeuvring space and hangar-age that are stressed to and large enough to accept an aircraft of this size and weight. The airfield should be on the pipeline system for fuel supply. There are no overriding strategic or tactical factors which dictate the airfield's geographical location in this country, but the cost and timescale of availability and of any improvements needed to reach the minimum operational standard required have to be considered. Due weight is also given to environmental factors.

All possible airfields, including those in Lincolnshire, are being considered, but no decision on a base for these aircraft has yet been made, and I cannot at this stage exclude Fairford or Brize Norton as possible bases for this purpose.

Environmental factors vary from one airfield to another and the situation at Fairford and Brize Norton is not the same as that at RAF Greenham Common which was excluded from the Government's considerations for the reasons announced by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Royal Air Force on 26th May.