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Attack Helicopter

Volume 181: debated on Wednesday 28 November 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has yet reached a decision on the choice of new attack helicopter for the Army.

As previously announced, we have participated along with three other European nations in joint studies of the feasibility of developing a light attack helicopter (LAH) based on the Agusta A129 design.Although these studies have demonstrated the feasibility of such a development, unfortunately, and despite the best efforts of all parties involved, it appears that development of a solution that would meet the requirements of all four nations would not be economic. Additionally, as a result of international developments since the studies were initiated, including the CFE agreement, the number of aircraft required by some nations has reduced below the level at which a collaborative A129-LAH would be economically viable, and the Governments concerned have decided not to proceed with a LAH development.We are continuing to evaluate other options for meeting the British Army's requirement for a new attack helicopter, but it is likely to be some time before I am able to announce our conclusions.