22 MARCH 1935, Page 3

British Strength in the Air Sir Philip Sassoon, in presenting

the Air Estimates on Tuesday, should have dispelled some of the alarms of those who assert that this country is in a position of hopeless inferiority in the air. There is a temptation to judge air strength simply by the total number of machines, or in some eases by the total number con- structed in replacement. So far from Britain being only eighth among the world's air Powers, he asserts that in first-line strength only four nations outnumber us, and two of these—the United States and Italy—by relatively small margins. Russia and France, however, go seriously beyond us, with 2,000 and 1,650 machines respectively against our present number of 1,020. But these figures are not an adequate criterion of fighting strength. Sir Philip spoke of the background of un- rivalled organization that lay behind every one of our first-line craft, of our large number of qualified pilots, and of the superiority of our -machines. In view of the increase in the Estimates, it is satisfactory to be assured that we shall be getting our money's worth. German strength, it should be remembered, is conjectural. But Sir Philip refuses to accept Mr. Churchill's statement that it is already greater than ours.

* * * 4.