Polaris Submarines

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Navy – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd January 1963.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Patrick Wall Mr Patrick Wall , Haltemprice 12:00 am, 23rd January 1963

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty when the first Polaris-carrying submarine will be laid down, and what is the estimated time it will take to bring such a vessel into service.

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

I have been asked to reply.

Design work has already started. It is too soon to say when the first submarine will be laid down or in service.

Photo of Mr Patrick Wall Mr Patrick Wall , Haltemprice

Will my right hon. Friend comment on the so-called missile gap? Is not it well within the capability of British shipyards to launch Polaris submarines and put them into commission before the V-bomber force is obsolete?

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

It is certainly within the capacity of British shipyards to put the Polaris fleet into service and I hope at a reasonably early date. As to the missile gap, I do not accept that there is a gap, although no doubt there will be a period when enemy defence is growing in strength and we shall be doing something about that. I think it will be dealt with in the debate.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

When he was in America did the Minister make inquiries about what profits American armament manufacturers are likely to make out of the Polaris submarine business?

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

No. But I was satisfied that there was immense defence profit to this country from going into this project.

Photo of Commander Anthony Courtney Commander Anthony Courtney , Harrow East

Is it not a fact that"Dreadnought"was laid down three and a half years ago and that she has not yet dived and that this period is about twice the interval taken by the Americans in similar circumstances? Can he guarantee that the Polaris programme will not be lengthened by such a tremendous amount of time?

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

In so far as the Royal Navy and the shipyards can provide, I have every reason to believe that we shall get an effective submarine at the earliest possible date.

Photo of Mr Eustace Willis Mr Eustace Willis , Edinburgh East

Can the Minister say at what speed it is intended to proceed with this programme? Are we to start with one, two or three submarines? What kind of programme has he in mind?

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

At this moment the design work has started and that is the first thing. As that starts we can begin to place contracts. At the appropriate moment I shall say something about how the streams of production will start. I was not proposing to say so at the moment.

Mr. Lee:

Will the right hon. Gentleman say from what source we shall obtain the rich uranium to power the submarines? Shall we be dependent on American supplies?

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

I think that question has been answered. If the right hon. Gentleman will put down a Question about uranium I will see that it is answered.