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Exercise Mayflight

Volume 641: debated on Sunday 7 May 1961

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6.

asked the Secretary of State for Air why the Valiant bombers proceeded to dispersal airfields in the recent exercise Mayflight before taking off on a simulated operational mission.

One of the objects of the exercise was to practise the dispersal arrangements.

Are we to understand that the strategic nuclear deterrent of this country, or at least most of it, which has cost an enormous amount of money, depends largely on receiving sufficient notice to proceed to its dispersal airfields before proceeding on operational missions?

No, Sir. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will realise that there are many different situations in which the strategic force could be called on to operate. Some of these would allow for dispersal, and it is therefore important to have good dispersal arrangements. The exercise was an attempt to test every feature of the strategic force, including its dispersal capability.