To ask the Secretary of State for Defence
(1) what assessment he has made of progress made by Project Julius; and whether the project is on time;
(2) when the Project Julius avionic upgrade for the Chinook helicopters will receive its release to service;
(3) when project Julius-upgraded Chinooks will be deployed to Afghanistan.
Julius introduces a digital “glass” cockpit and new crewman’s workstation across our current fleet of Chinook helicopters that provide the core heavy-life element of the UK rotary wing fleet. These modifications will allow pilots to determine what flight and tactical information is displayed to them at any given time, improving the ergonomics of the cockpit. Modified aircraft completed numerous developmental test flights during 2011. These were largely successful but some technical issues were identified, which is not unusual during such activities. The Ministry of Defence and industry have an established plan to resolve these issues and deliver the aircraft to service shortly. Once introduced into service, their use and deployment will be determined by prevailing military needs and priorities.