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Jet Aircraft

Volume 497: debated on Monday 10 March 1952

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asked the Minister of Supply if he will give the types of jet engines now being developed under the auspices of his Department; and if he is satisfied with the progress being made.

No, Sir. It would not be in the national interest to publish particulars of the different types of aero engines which are now under development. I am satisfied that good progress is being made.

Is the Minister aware that there is a feeling that the lead we have established in that field is not so clear as it was? Would he say whether he thinks that at this time we can afford to lose the services and advice of Sir Frank Whittle?

I answered a Question about Sir Frank Whittle the other day, to which I refer the hon. Member. On the general issue, I think British achievement in the field of jet engines is sufficiently proved by the number of licences which have been taken out by Americans and others to produce these engines.


asked the Minister of Supply what heavy jet transport aircraft are now being developed to follow the Viscount and Comet II machines; and what projects are now in hand for a 30–40-seat helicopter.

Preliminary work is proceeding on several projects, but it is too early to make any detailed statement.

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that unless we have a bigger and, if possible faster machine by 1956–57 we shall have lost our lead in this field? Will he give an assurance that, if possible, extra priority will be given not only to the jet transport aircraft now in production but also to the development of their successors?

I agree particularly with the last part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question. It seems to me that what we have to do is to make good the lead that we have already established, which means accelerating in every possible way the production of the Comet and other new aircraft which are either in production or just going into production.