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Volume 931: debated on Wednesday 4 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence what rôle the hover-craft has to play in the current defence strategy for the United Kingdom.

Armed Forces percentageIndustry percentage
1st April 1974–31st March 197512·527·9
1st April 1975–31st March 197629·519·4
1st April 1976–31st March 19779·69·1*


Armed Forces—AFPRB Reports (MOD assessment for 1974–75).

Industry— DE Gazette, index of average earnings.

* April 1976-January 1977 only.

Extensive studies have been undertaken into a variety of possible military uses for the hovercraft. In the last three years these have concentrated on its possible use in the mine counter-measures rôle. No decision has yet been taken on whether or not the Royal Navy should adopt the hovercraft for use in this or other rôles.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what are his proposals for the future of the Hovercraft Trials Unit at Lee-on-Solent.

There are no plans at present to close the Naval Hovercraft Trials Unit, but until a decision has been taken on the possible future use of hovercraft in the mine counter-measures rôle it is too early to say whether and, if so, in what form the unit will continue. A decision not to proceed with the MCM hovercraft programme would not necessarily result in the disbandment of the unit.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to be in a position to announce a decision on the future of hovercraft in an MCM rôle.

Evaluation of the results of trials of the hovercraft in the mine counter-measures rôle is now well under way. We hope to reach a decision on future policy for the hovercraft in this rôle in the next 12 months.