Armed Forces: Helicopters

House of Lords written question – answered on 12th November 2009.

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Photo of Lord Ashcroft Lord Ashcroft Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what factors they are taking into account in deciding between upgrading the Sea King helicopter and purchasing more Chinooks.

Photo of Baroness Taylor of Bolton Baroness Taylor of Bolton Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Defence and Security) (also in the Ministry of Defence), Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (International Defence and Security) (also in Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

Following the Defence Select Committee's review into battlefield helicopters in June 2009, we have been looking again at our future helicopter strategy, including whether there is an opportunity to replace some of our older types earlier than planned We concluded in September 2009 that we should proceed with the planned upgrade to the Puma fleet but have continued to review our plans for the Sea King fleet and how best to meet our future helicopter requirements. This work has focused on ensuring continued delivery on operations, increasing the percentage of our future fleet that can operate effectively in the harsh conditions that we are experiencing in Afghanistan, and reducing the through-life cost of owning and operating our fleets, including by minimising the number of types operated and the variation of build-standard within each type. We anticipate being in a position to clarify our future plans in the coming weeks.

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