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Volume 455: debated on Thursday 25 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the availability of helicopters for immediate deployment. (117267)

All UK helicopters deemed fit for purpose are available for immediate deployment. They are deemed fit for purpose if they are capable of undertaking a specific role identified in a particular theatre 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. A helicopter assessed as not fit-for- purpose may be returned to the front line at very short notice to meet operational demand.

I also refer the hon. Member to my answer of 8 January 2007, Official Report, column 87W, which gives details on forward fleet and average fit-for- purpose figures.