Transport Aircraft.

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Air Force. – in the House of Commons on 15th July 1942.

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Photo of Mr Edgar Granville Mr Edgar Granville , Eye

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he has considered ordering the civil transport prototype of the Stirling bomber for use as a transport machine capable of carrying heavy loads to operational areas?

Photo of Mr Harold Balfour Mr Harold Balfour , Isle of Thanet

It would not be in the public interest to disclose what has been done or is being done in this field, but as my right hon. and gallant Friend the Minister of Aircraft Production said in his speech yesterday, development work on bomber type conversion is not being neglected.

Photo of Mr Edgar Granville Mr Edgar Granville , Eye

Is it not within the recollection of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman that this particular bomber was originally designed as a civilian prototype, and are not production and machine tools available to enable transport or civilian machines to be produced rapidly for the purpose stated in this Question?

Photo of Mr Harold Balfour Mr Harold Balfour , Isle of Thanet

As the Minister of Aircraft Production said yesterday, this particular type was not originally designed as a civilian aircraft. I happen to remember the time when it was originally put on the drawing board. As the Minister of Aircraft Production said yesterday, other types, which it would not be in the public interest to specify, are being developed as transport machines.

Photo of Mr Edgar Granville Mr Edgar Granville , Eye

Apart from whether it is in the public interest or not, can the right hon. and gallant Gentleman give an assurance that his Department and the Ministry of Aircraft Production are concerned with giving us a transport and civilian machine for this purpose in future?

Photo of Mr Harold Balfour Mr Harold Balfour , Isle of Thanet

We are certainly concerned in giving transport aircraft for war purposes. Indeed, both Departments are.

Photo of Mrs Mavis Tate Mrs Mavis Tate , Frome

Why was it that yesterday in the Debate the Minister of Aircraft Production specifically said that we were going to manufacture no transport planes in this country, that we were going to rely on America? Do try to agree among yourselves.

Photo of Mr Harold Balfour Mr Harold Balfour , Isle of Thanet

The Minister said that we were developing a transport type from one of our bombers, and he said that it had flown yesterday. He also said that we much look to the U.S.A. for the majority of our transport aircraft.