Armed Forces: Rescue Services

Defence written question – answered on 30th March 2010.

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Photo of Angus Robertson Angus Robertson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Defence), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on (a) how many occasions and (b) for how long on each occasion search and rescue helicopters at RAF Lossiemouth have been unavailable in the last 12 months; and on what proportion of such occasions this was because of (i) aircrew shortages and (ii) technical problems.

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

Between 1 March 2009 and 28 February 2010 RAF Lossiemouth was unable to provide search and rescue (SAR) capability on 26 occasions due to crew shortages. All of these consisted of 12 hour night-time closures.

In the same period Lossiemouth SAR helicopters were unavailable on 147 occasions due to technical problems; these periods vary in length from a few minutes to several days. Details of each occasion and the length of time Lossiemouth was listed as being 'off-state' are shown in the following table.

The extended closure of Lossiemouth between 26 January and 1 February this year was because both helicopters required major repair work. If a helicopter becomes unavailable for any reason, then the Aeronautical Rescue Co-ordination Centre at RAF Kinloss liaises with other SAR providers to reduce the impact on available cover. This is primarily achieved by ensuring that when one SAR station is expected to be 'off-state' a neighbouring site is fully operational.

Date Downtime (Hours and minutes)
March 2009
4-5 6.56
9 9
20 20
20 20
21 21
21-22 5.16
April 2009
7 0.36
8-9 09.10
25-26 13.32
28 1.37
28 0.51
May 2009
6 1.19
8-9 15.00
10 9.32
12-13 36.44
14 2.08
15 3.48
15 0.24
18 14.58
19 6.43
19 0.12
19 0.51
20 2.04
21 0.48
23-24 1.16
24 3.03
25 0.47
26-27 24.07
29-30 17.06
31 0.45
June 2009
1 3.13
3-4 24.44
8 3.11
11 0.27
11 2.10
12-13 7.51
14-15 2.37
16 3.53
17 3.57
18-19 7.41
19 5.29
19-20 27.52
22 0.54
29 0.07
29 1.19
July 2009
10 0.02
18-19 10.14
20 5.52
20-21 14.45
26 1.07
29 2.19
31 1.03
August 2009
6 1.03
8 3.14
12 2.52
12 1.37
12 2.48
13 4.18
15-16 6.47
19 3.27
21 0.08
21 2.01
24 3.43
September 2009
1 2.32
7 2.26
10-11 7.38
13 1.51
23-24 6.09
28 0.45
28 1.25
October 2009
4 3.22
8 3.00
21 3.08
22-23 20.33
25 0.01
26 1.04
27-30 97.13
31 1.31
November 2009
5 0.01
5 5.54
7-8 14.06
13 1.33
20 8.01
20-21 12.53
24-25 12.02
26 0.20
30 0.01
30 0.01
December 2009
1 3.32
2-3 14.04
3-5 47.18
5-6 10.08
6-7 14.32
7-8 28.49
10-11 25.18
14 5.12
14 6.42
14 0.29
19 1.59
29 6.08
29-30 2.34
30 3.42
January 2010
7 6.00
12 4.43
14 8.13
14 6.10
14-15 10.39
15 0.49
15 6.48
16 1.04
19 12.04
21-22 19.21
23 1.01
24 2.44
25 2.49
25 1.17
25 0.03
26 January to 1 February 154.09
February 2010
2 13.53
4 0.01
5 2.55
5-6 4.59
6-7 13.32
6-7 9.06
7 0.02
7 2.23
10-11 7.45
11-12 10.58
12-13 31.04
13 1.05
14 3.38
15 4.29
17-18 13.28
20 1.07
21 17.47
21-22 20.12
22 1.28
24-25 16.13
25 7.45
26 3.25
27 0.13
27 2.39
27 1.41
27 1.19
28 4.42
28 0.01
28 2.19

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