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Vote a. Number for Air Force Service

Part of Orders of the Day — Air Estimates, 1962–63 – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th March 1962.

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Photo of Mr Julian Amery Mr Julian Amery , Preston North 12:00 am, 12th March 1962

I gave way to the hon. Member because he was, until recently, responsible, on behalf of the Opposition, for Air Force matters. I am not prepared to explain here the exact details of our readiness or dispersal systems. I am sure that the party opposite would not wish me to say in public what these are.

When I say that we have brought the average reaction time down to two minutes, this is, of course, under realisticconditions. There would be no point in producing an illusory figure of this kind. I claim, therefore, on behalf of Bomber Command, that our capacity to react to aircraft and missile threat is keeping pace with the development of the missile capacity of the Soviet side. Later in the decade, we shall have a further advance.

I told the House in July about the Midas system, with which the Royal Air Force is co-operating. This system will enable us to detect a ballistic missile almost from the moment of launch, and should give another one to two minutes' warning time—it is too early yet to say exactly how much it will be—to Bomber Command.