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Volume 526: debated on Tuesday 13 April 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for War if he will make a statement on the use of the flight of helicopters under the operational control of the Army.

Yes, Sir. This flight of three Bristol 171 helicopters is employed on experimental work in the use of helicopters by the Army and on tests of Army equipment. It is also employed on liaison duties and on training of Army pilots in flying and co-operation with ground forces.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say if the only use of helicopters by the Army, in such areas as Malaya and Kenya, is for evacuating the wounded and so forth, and will he expand the use of helicopters in the Army as the Americans are doing?

Oh, yes, but the Question referred to this particular flight of helicopters which is under Army operational control in this country. Of course, helicopters in Malaya, Korea and elsewhere are put to a very much wider operational use.

Does my right hon. Friend consider the operation of this unit is satisfactory, and, if so, will he inform his right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation in order that B.E.A. may do something about the development of the helicopter?

I can only answer for my own Department, and we are very interested and keen on helicopters. We are doing everything we possibly can to get more.