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Military Aircraft: Helicopters

Volume 475: debated on Monday 12 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many serviceable helicopters are available to (a) the Army, (b) the Royal Navy and (c) the Royal Air Force; and how many were available to each in 2005. (204194)

For the purposes of MOD reporting, a serviceable helicopter is defined as one that is used, is capable of being used or could be made ready for a period of two hours flying within a planned flying programme. Fit For Purpose is the metric that is used to measure serviceability, and the figures in the table represent the average Fit For Purpose figures for the month of March in each of the specified years. The numbers of helicopters that are considered to be Fit For Purpose will vary from day to day due, primarily, to routine maintenance requirements, and does not include helicopters in transit.

The number of serviceable helicopters available in the Forward Fleet for the month of March in 2005 and 2008, broken down by Service are shown as follows:

March

2005

2008

Royal Navy

Sea King HC Mk 4 and 6

19

16

Lynx Mk 3

16

12

Lynx Mk 8

13

14

Merlin Mk 1

10

13

Sea King Mk 5

5

7

Sea King Mk 7

6

4

RN total

69

66

Army Air Corps

Apache AH Mk l

22

25

Agusta A 109

3

3

Lynx Mk 7 and 9

47

39

Gazelle HC Mk 1

58

36

AAC total

130

103

Royal Air Force

Chinook HC Mk 2

18

21

Merlin HC Mk 3

6

8

Puma MC Mk 1

19

13

SAR Sea King Mk 3/3a

Not available

18

RAF total

43

60

Total FFP

242

229

The figures for 2008 do not include the eight RAF Chinook Mark 3 helicopters that are being converted to a Battlefield role but do include three of the six RAF Merlin helicopters recently acquired from Denmark, as announced by the Secretary of State on 30 March 2007. The figures for 2008 also reflect the planned reductions in the Gazelle and Lynx Mk 7 fleets. The number of serviceable Apache will increase as the capability continues to be fielded.