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Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Volume 473: debated on Wednesday 12 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) pursuant to the answer of 26 February 2008, Official Report, column 1359W, on Afghanistan peacekeeping operations, what the circumstances were surrounding the loss of each of the 27 Desert Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles; (193157)

(2) how many of the 27 lost Desert Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles have been (a) recovered, (b) not recovered and are believed to be in enemy control and (c) not recovered and are not believed to be in enemy control.

The 27 Desert Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) lost in Afghanistan all crashed either as a result of technical failure or following an unexplained loss of signal.

Of the 27 lost, one was subsequently recovered. We are aware of two that came into the possession of opposing forces. Due to their lightweight design and the harsh operating environment, the Desert Hawk would be expected to break apart on impact, putting them beyond serviceable use. Even if recovered intact the UAV itself offers no value to opposing forces, and these losses therefore raise no operational security concerns.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the six Merlin helicopters purchased from Denmark will be deployed in Afghanistan. (193229)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 30 January 2008, Official Report, column 364W, to the hon. Member for Woodspring (Dr. Fox).