§ Mr. Trotter
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to form a new reserve for the Fleet Air Arm; what is to be its role and strength and where it is to be based.
§ Mr. Speed
A Royal Naval Reserve—Air—Branch is to be formed, as part of104W the Royal Naval Reserve, commencing in 1980. The role will be twofold; to augment front-line squadrons, and increase the pool of expertise for communications flying in support of other Royal Naval activities. Initially up to 40 pilots and observers will be recruited, possibly increasing to 60 in 1982–83. The Reserve will be open to experienced, qualified officers under age 33 who have left the Royal Navy within the past five years; their Reserve training will be on a flying refresher basis with retention dependent upon maintaining satisfactory standards.
The front-line training will be carried out with disembarked squadrons and the support role flying training will be based on Lee-on-Solent.