Lynx Helicopter

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 7th February 2005.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Jim Knight Jim Knight PPS (Ms Rosie Winterton, Minister of State), Department of Health 2:30 pm, 7th February 2005

If he will make a statement on the future requirement by the armed forces for the Lynx helicopter.

Photo of Adam Ingram Adam Ingram Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence

At present, we expect the Lynx mark 7 and mark 9 to have an out-of-service date with the Army of 2012, and the Lynx mark 3 and mark 8 to have out-of-service dates with the Royal Navy of 2012 and 2014 respectively. No decisions have yet been taken on the shape of our future rotorcraft capability programme, or on the individual components within it.

Photo of Jim Knight Jim Knight PPS (Ms Rosie Winterton, Minister of State), Department of Health

I am grateful to the Minister for his response. He will know that, a week last Friday, workers at Westland celebrated President Bush's decision to procure the US101 for his presidential fleet. The following Monday, however, a large-scale redundancy programme was announced at Yeovil. Those workers desperately need a decision on the future of Lynx, as do other companies in the supply chain, including South Dorset Engineering in my constituency. Why the delay?

Photo of Adam Ingram Adam Ingram Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence

My hon. Friend has been very active in putting forward his constituents' concerns on this matter. He is right to highlight the great success in achieving the US101 contract, which will give that aircraft much greater export potential. It is undoubtedly a success. We have procured from AgustaWestland the Merlin mark 3 for £750 million, and the Apache in a £4.1 billion project. We are therefore giving our support, but the important aspect of this is to ensure that we understand precisely what we need for our future capabilities. Therefore, rather than rushing into decisions, we must ensure that the £3 billion that we have allocated for rotorcraft capability is wisely spent in a way that will have the maximum impact, one hopes in the UK sector.