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"Ark Royal"

Volume 14: debated on Tuesday 8 December 1981

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5.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he now expects Her Majesty's ship "Ark Royal" to enter service.

In the mid-1980s.

In the light of my hon. Friend's reply to a supplementary question by my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Sir P. Wall) to question No. 1, that carriers are available to reinforce the Northern front, is he aware that "Illustrious" is behind schedule and that we need at least two carriers? Will he therefore take this opportunity categorically to deny reports in the press that discussions have taken place between the British Government and the Government of Australia about the sale of "Invincible" to that country?

No, I cannot deny that. The problem is well understood and will certainly be taken into account in any timings.

What aircraft will be available to fly on "Ark Royal" when she comes into service? Has permission been given for the Royal Navy to order Sea Harriers and helicopters?

There will be Sea Harriers and Sea Kings, but there is as yet no clearance for additional aircraft.