To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions have taken place between his Department and the Civil Aviation Authority in relation to the replacement of the Sea King helicopters by a squadron of Wessex helicopters at the air sea rescue base at RAF Coltishall, with particular reference to the mechanical aspects of the different capabilities of the Wessex and the Sea King in their air sea rescue role; and if he will make a statement.
None. There is no requirement for military aircraft to be licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the poor weather flying and long-range operation capability of the Wessex helicopter in relation to air-sea rescue duties in the North sea; what is the equivalent capability of the Sea King helicopter; and if he will make a statement.
The Sea King's more sophisticated avionics and flight control system, longer range and extra capacity makes it a more capable all-weather aircraft than the Wessex. However, the Wessex remains capable of performing rescue operations in most weather conditions, including at night, where there is sufficient visibility.