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Military Aircraft: Helicopters

Volume 464: debated on Monday 8 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement on progress on (a) acquiring six Merlin helicopters from Denmark and (b) converting eight Chinook helicopters; (154248)

(2) when he expects the (a) six Merlin helicopters from Denmark and (b) the eight Chinook helicopters currently being converted to be operational.

The six Merlin helicopters arrived in the UK in July 2007. These aircraft are currently being configured to UK standards, and are expected to be operational by 31 March 2008. Two aircraft have been delivered to RAF Benson, where air and ground crew training is now under way.

With regard to the conversion of the eight Chinook MK3 helicopters, an initial contract was placed with Boeing on 1 August. On current plans we expect to see the aircraft delivered by the end of 2009.