31 MAY 1957, Page 8

THIS IS MORE than can be said of some of

his RAF colleagues, to judge from their boasts after the latest Fighter Command air exercises. With sublime confidence, the Sunday Times air cor- respondent reported that fighter defence 'appeared to destroy at least ten times as many of the raiders as were brought down in the best days of the Battle of Britain.' Gratifying though this may sound, it would hardly have made much difference to the degree of annihilation had the raiders been carrying H-bombs. In any case, these 'raiders' were aircraft far slower and easier to intercept than the current Russian bombers. It is highly improbable, too, that the Russians, if they intended to bomb Britain, would use aircraft; the job would be done more efficiently by guided missiles, so that whether Fighter Command can or cannot intercept conventional bombing raids is of little relevance. It only distracts attention from consideration of the real problems of defence to go on pretending that Fighter Com- mand, even if it had better aircraft, has any further part to play in global war—whatever its potential in peripheral campaigns.

* * *