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Bombing Ranges

Volume 440: debated on Wednesday 16 July 1947

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asked the Minister of Defence why it is necessary for the Ministry of Supply to have separate bombing ranges, in addition to those held by the R.A.F. and Fleet Air Arm; and why Service requirements cannot be further coordinated in this respect with consequent economies.

Bombing ranges are shared whenever possible. In some cases, however, no facilities are available on a Service Department range which is conveniently located and otherwise suited for the research and development work for which the Ministry of Supply is responsible.

In view of the fact that the R.A.F. still hold 265 of this large number of bombing ranges, surely it is possible for those ranges to be used by Ministry of Supply aircraft?

The real point about it is, as I have tried to explain in the last sentence of my answer, that we are doing our best to combine bombing ranges as between the Royal Air Force and the Fleet Air Arm, but as the Ministry of Supply is very largely concerned with research and experimental work, it is not so easy to combine the three sets of ranges on the same sites.

Will the right hon. Gentleman look into this a little further. It is very hard to believe that with the number of bombing ranges there at present available to the Royal Air Force, the Ministry of Supply cannot make use of them, in view of the great demand for land for other purposes?

Certain ranges are, in fact, so used by the Ministry of Supply, but that cannot be made a principle.