Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Purchase of Jet Planes.

asked the Minister for Defence if he will state (a) whether prior to 1947 there was any ministerial decision to purchase jet aeroplanes and, if so, how many fighter squadrons, and how many jet planes to a squadron, were proposed for purchase; and (b) whether the runways at Baldonnel were extended for the service of such jet aeroplanes, the date on which such extension was ordered, and the cost of such extension.

There was no ministerial decision prior to 1947 to purchase jet aircraft. Hard surface runways have been provided at Baldonnel because they are necessary for the efficient all-the-year-round operation of our aircraft. Prior to the provision of the new runways Baldonnel Aerodrome had been non-operational for long periods each winter owing to the water-logged condition of the ground. The contract for the construction of the runways was placed in December, 1953. The total estimated cost is £538,600.

That would go a long way on the land project.