18 JANUARY 1957, Page 7

IT IS NOW IWO years almost to the day since

I first argued that the Hunter fighter was a liability. This was not the product of any inside informa- tion : the aircraft's failings had long been known, and discussed on more than one occasion in the Commons. The Hunter, you will remember, was .(and for all I know still is) the fighter which handled so beautifully. It was the pilot's delight. Unfortunately it tended to shake itself to destruc- tion if its cannon were fired at high altitudes. Again and again we were assured that the re- quired modifications were being made, in spite of the very obvious fact that the Hunter, like all the other fighters in service, was already obsolescent. Now, at long last, the Government has decided to cut the order for Hunters; and it seems probable that this is only the preliminary to a general and more drastic revision of Air Force expenditure. Another symptom is the end of the Auxiliary Air Force units, which for years now have continued only for sentimental reasons. In his article on another page Sir Edward Boyle states the case for further cuts; and at last it really does seem pos- sible that defence expenditure is going to be placed on a realistic basis. It is a fine opportunity for the new Minister, Mr. Duncan Sandys.