Fairey Delta 2 Aircraft

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Aviation – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd June 1964.

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Photo of Mr Eric Lubbock Mr Eric Lubbock , Orpington 12:00 am, 3rd June 1964

asked the Minister of Aviation if the cost of modifying the Fairey Delta 2 and of the subsequent flight test programme to be undertaken by the Royal Aircraft Establishment is to be shared by the British and French Governments in view of its direct application to the Concord programme; and if the money for this work is included in the original estimate of £150 million for development of the Concord.

Photo of Mr Julian Amery Mr Julian Amery , Preston North

No, Sir. The modification of the Fairey Delta 2—now designated BAC.221—was undertaken in 1959 as part of our general research programme on supersonic flight. The aircraft was designed for research on problems associated with slender delta wings and was not directed to specific aircraft applications. It is contributing valuable information to the Concord programme, but it is not part of that programme and its costs are therefore not appropriate to it.

Photo of Mr Eric Lubbock Mr Eric Lubbock , Orpington

Is the Minister aware that the Press release by the British Aircraft Corporation said that this work would be directly applicable to the Concord programme? Could he say what the cost of modifying the 221 was and how much other expenditure has been incurred on work connected with the Concord programme which has not been shared evenly by the British and French Governments? If the amount is as extensive as I think it is, does it not indicate that it was a rather unequal bargain?

Photo of Mr Julian Amery Mr Julian Amery , Preston North

No, I do not think so. A great deal of work done on both sides of the Channel which contributes to the programme has application to it but it not a direct part of it, but I should like to have notice of the specific points raised by the hon. Member.

Photo of Mr John Cronin Mr John Cronin , Loughborough

Has not the Estimates Committee already criticised the Minister quite strongly for not sharing with the French the expense of the supersonic transport? Would it not be appropriate in this case if he made sure that we shared these expenses?

Photo of Mr Julian Amery Mr Julian Amery , Preston North

My reading of the Estimates Committee Report is quite different from that of the hon. Member. I do not think it criticised us for not sharing the expense on the supersonic transport. It is quite plain that all expenses directly applicable to Concord are being shared on a fifty-fifty basis. There may well be a considerable area of research in both countries which has a bearing on this but which is not a direct part of the programme.