Forces (Mobility)

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th November 1960.

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Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross , Kilmarnock 12:00 am, 16th November 1960

asked the Minister of Defence what plans he has to make effective the mobility of the forces.

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

The forces already have a high degree of mobility. An example of this is that by the end of this year R.A.F. Transport Command will be able to fly 150 million passenger miles per month, nearly double the capacity before the Britannias were delivered. It will continue to be an essential feature of our planning to increase the mobility of all three Services.

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross , Kilmarnock

Surely, the Minister realises that if we are to have a minimum size Army there will be greater need for mobility, not only in the transport of troops but for transporting heavy equipment? Will the right hon. Gentleman tell me exactly what aircraft we have that will do this for our strategic needs, and in what numbers do we have this aircraft?

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

If the hon. Member wants further details, he must put down another Question. At the moment, however, the heavy carrier is the Beverley, with the Britannic to follow.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

We hear about how many man miles a month. How many tank or heavy gun miles a month can we do at the moment?

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

I shall be happy to answer that question if the right hon. Gentleman puts it down.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

The Question asks the Minister, what plans he has to make effective the mobility of the forces. It must be clear that the forces are mobile only if their equipment also is mobile. Is not the Minister prepared to answer the Question concerning the mobility of our equipment? Sending the men by themselves is not much use.

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

I thought I told the right hon. Gentleman that I should be delighted to answer, but perhaps he will have the courtesy to put it on the Order Paper.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

It is already there.