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Military Transport

Volume 480: debated on Wednesday 15 November 1950

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36.

asked the Secretary of State for Air what arrangements have been made with British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways Corporation, and with charter companies for the transport of Army formations and equipment in an emergency.

The use of the Corporations and charter companies for any emergency airlift in peace-time which was beyond the resources of the R.A.F. would be arranged under normal contract procedure at the time. The use of the Corporations in war is now being discussed with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Boards of the Corporations. All the larger charter companies have been given full details of the scheme for forming auxiliary transport squadrons. The first of such squadrons was formed on 1st November.

But if these aircraft are to be used in an emergency, in peace-time or in war, ought not preparatory arrangements—load tables, for instance —to be fixed well in advance? Will the hon. Gentleman see that if that has not been done already, it is done as quickly as possible?

The R.A.F. does carry out exercises in loading aircraft, and with aircraft which are either identical with or very similar to aircraft of the Corporations and charter companies.

Is it not a fact that most of the aircraft with which the Corporations and charter companies are now equipped would not be strong enough to carry light tanks or jeeps and heavy equipment of that sort? What preparation is being made for carrying such equipment by military aircraft?

That is another question. There is another similar to that later on, the answer to which will probably answer the hon. Gentleman's point.

42.

asked the Secretary of State for Air what progress has been made on the design and development of a rear-loading aircraft for military transport purposes.

The prototype of a military transport aircraft embodying rear-loading has been constructed in this country and is now being used for experimental purposes.