§ Mr. Trotter
asked the Secretary of State for Defence when 203 Nimrod squadron was disbanded; what percentage reduction in the number of Nimrod squadrons this represented; and how the duties formerly carried out by the squadron will be covered in future.
§ Mr. Wellbeloved
The operational commitment of 203 Squadron ceased on 31st December 1977. The squadron will be disbanded during the first quarter of this year, as I informed the hon. Member for Stretford (Mr. Churchill) last November—[Vol. 939, c. 568]. This will reduce the number of Nimrod LRMP squadrons from five to four.
It is implicit in the withdrawal of the Nimrod squadron from Malta and the concentration of our maritime reconaissance effort in the Eastern Atlantic and Channel areas that the duties hitherto carried out by the Nimrods in Malta will not in future be undertaken by the Royal Air Force. However, we have not ruled out undertaking operational deployments to the Mediterranean on a contingency basis and training for this will be carried out.