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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

It is clear from the hon. Lady's intervention that she does not think that we can be successful on any national or allied basis.

The first step, plainly enough, is to study the problem and to see what can be done within our means and within our skills. We are making this study. Hon. Members on both sides of the Committee will have derived some comfort from the fact that Colonel Glenn, who carried out that remarkable flight the other day, was over 40. There is hope for some of us yet.

There is another lesson to be learned from the flights of the Russian and the American astronauts. Many people thought that the advent of the missile meant the end of the manned aircraft. It is already clear that this is not so. I believe that the same will be true of space flight. Basically, it is not possible to get more out of a missile or an unmanned satellite than is programmed into it at the time of launching. Man is the only computer who can change his flight plan in response to unexpected developments. Man is still the key to flexibility and surprise. Therefore, in all our thinking on these baffling problems I invite the Committee to remember what we in the Royal Air Force still believe is an essential truth, namely, that the human being remains the decisive element, whether in the air or in space.