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Volume 450: debated on Thursday 26 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of the helicopters based in Southern Afghanistan are (a) based in (i) Kandahar Province and (ii) Helmand Province and (b) under the direct command of Brigadier Ed Butler. (85799)

[holding answer 17 July 2006]: Brigadier Jerry Thomas took over command of UK troops in Afghanistan from Brigadier Ed Butler on 7 October 2006.

I am withholding details of where our helicopters are based as this information could compromise operational security and put the lives of our personnel at risk. They are based at the most appropriate place to support the UK deployment to Helmand.

UK Forces in Helmand operate under the operational control of the Multi-national Brigade Commander, Brigadier Fraser, who is the Canadian Commander in charge of Regional Command South and under command of Commander International Security Assistance Force. UK forces have tactical command of the helicopter assets and inform Regional Command South's priorities for use of these assets.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) Apache, (b) Chinook, (c) Merlin and (d) Lynx helicopters were in regular service in Afghanistan (i) at the start of the war and (ii) at the latest available date. (95074)

[holding answer 19 October 2006]: As announced on 26 January 2006, Official Report, column 1529, 18 helicopters were to be deployed to Afghanistan: eight AH-64 Apache attack helicopters; four Lynx light utility helicopters; and six CH-47 Chinook support helicopters. The additional deployment of two CH-47 Chinook helicopters was announced on 24 July 2006, Official Report, column 76.