Military Aircraft: Helicopters

Defence written question – answered on 6th January 2010.

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Photo of Bernard Jenkin Bernard Jenkin Conservative, North Essex

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the statement of 15 December 2009, Official Report, columns 801-05, on future defence programme, and to the written ministerial statement of 15 December 2009, Official Report, columns 99-100WS, on future rotary wing strategy, how many helicopters of each type are in service in each service; what the out-of-service dates of each type of helicopter are; and what the in-service dates and numbers are for new helicopters his Department expects to procure by 2020.

Photo of Bill Rammell Bill Rammell Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence

"In service" has been taken to mean the effective fleet, which includes all aircraft barring those that are redundant, declared as surplus or awaiting disposal.

The number of effective aircraft within each helicopter type with each service, with accompanying planned out of service dates (OSD) as at 30 November 2009 is set out in the following tables.

Royal Navy
Aircraft type/mark MOD effective fleet Current planned OSD Comments
Lynx Mk3 28 2017 (1)It is expected that these aircraft will be replaced by the maritime variant of Wildcat from 2015.
Lynx Mk-8 33 2018 (1)-
Merlin Mk1 42 2029 We are currently preparing to upgrade 30 of these aircraft through the Merlin Mk1 Capability Sustainment Programme for which funding is approved. Further Mk 1 may be modified to deliver Airborne Search and Control capabilities subject to the Defence Review and investment approval.
Sea King Mk4 37 2016 Investment is required to achieve this OSD for which Main Gate approval is being sought in the next few months.
Sea King Mk6c 5 2010 -
Sea King Mk5 15 2016 The Search and Rescue capability provided by these aircraft will, subject to investment decision, be replaced by a joint PFI service with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
Sea King Mk 7 13 2016 Investment is required to achieve this OSD for which Main Gate approval is being sought in the next few months.
(1) Indicates brace
Army
Aircraft type/mark MOD effective fleet Current planned OSD Comments
Apache 67 2030 We expect to have to invest further in this aircraft (e.g. to address obsolescence and meet emerging requirements) during the next decade, in order to sustain its service life up to 2030.
Gazelle 39 2018 Gazelle currently provides a training capability in support of the British Army Training Unit in Canada (BATUS). We are currently exploring alternative arrangements to deliver a BATUS capability based on leased aircraft.
Lynx Mk7 66 2015 (1)It is expected that these aircraft will be replaced by the battlefield variant of Wildcat from 2014.
Lynx Mk-9 22 2018 (1)-
(1 )Indicates brace
Royal Air Force
Aircraft type/mark MOD effective fleet Current planned OSD Comments
Chinook Mk2 32 2040 (1)2 Mk 2 aircraft lost in current conflict reducing Mk2/2A fleet to 38. We expect to have to invest further in the next decade in the remaining aircraft to address obsolescence, to meet emerging requirements and to ensure they can achieve the planned OSD of 2040, although no investment decisions have yet been made. These figures exclude the eight Chinook Mk3 currently undergoing reversion. The first of these aircraft is already in service and it is expected that the remaining 7 Mk3 will be operational by the end of 2010. The OSD for these aircraft will be 2040.
Chinook Mk2a 6 2040 (1)-
Merlin Mk3 22 2030 (1)We expect to have to invest further in this aircraft (e.g. to address obsolescence and meet emerging requirements) during the next decade, in order to sustain its service life up to 2030.
Merlin Mk3a 6 2030 (1)-
Puma 34 2025 -
Sea King Mk3/3a 25 2016 The Search and Rescue capability provided by these aircraft will be replaced by a joint PFI service with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
(1) Indicates brace

These figures do not include aircraft leased by the MOD.

The adoption of the Future Rotary Wing Strategy, announced by the Secretary of State for Defence on 15 December 2009, Hansard, column 99WS, has resulted in a number of changes to our planning assumptions, although the only change to OSDs is for all marks of Sea King which will now retire in 2016 rather than 2018.

We are procuring 22 additional Chinook by 2020, increasing the fleet size to 70 and subject to the Defence Review and individual investment approval the Merlin Mk3/3a fleet is due to switch from the Royal Air Force to the Royal Navy. Further Merlin Mk1 may potentially be modified to deliver Airborne Search and Control capabilities.

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