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Helicopters

Volume 455: debated on Monday 8 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) in service, (b) fit for purpose and (c) available for immediate deployment helicopters there are in the (i) Royal Navy, (ii) RAF and (iii) Army Air Corps, broken down by type of helicopter. (110436)

The total number of helicopters in service with Joint Helicopter Command's Forward Fleet as at 18 December 2006 and the average fit for purpose figures for November 2006 are shown in the following table.

Aircraft type

Forward fleet

Fit for purpose

Royal Navy

Sea King HC4

25

16

Sea King HC6

4

2

RAF

Puma HCl

24

18

Merlin HC3

15

8

Chinook HC2/2a

25

13

Army Air Corps

Apache AH1

38

21

Gazelle AH1

52

46

Lynx AH7

60

32

Lynx AH9

16

9

A109

3

3

Bell 21 2

6

6

The helicopters in service with the Royal Navy's Forward Fleet and the average fit for purpose figures for November 2006 are shown in the following table.

Aircraft type

Forward fleet

Fit for purpose

Merlin Mk 1

26

13

Lynx Mk 3

23

13

Lynx Mk 8

21

12

Sea King Mk 5

11

6

Sea King Mk 7

9

5

The number of RAF Sea King Helicopters in service and the average fit for purpose figures for November 2006 are shown in the following table.

Aircraft type

Forward fleet

Fit for purpose

Sea King Mk 3/3a

17

12

All averages in all tables have been rounded to the nearest whole number.

All helicopters deemed fit for purpose are available for deployment.

All UK helicopters are deemed fit for purpose if they are capable of undertaking the required task on a given day. Helicopters are not available for tasking if they are undergoing scheduled maintenance, modification programmes or any unforeseen rectification work that can arise on a day-to-day basis. The figures do not reflect the fact that a helicopter assessed as not fit for purpose may be returned to the front line at very short notice to meet the operational need.