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Military Aircraft: Helicopters

Volume 481: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of (a) Chinook, (b) Merlin and (c) Sea King helicopters are (i) in service, (ii) fit for purpose and (iii) out of service. (226903)

The percentages of the (a) Chinook, (b) Merlin and (c) Sea King helicopters considered (i) in service, (ii) fit for purpose and (iii) out of service are detailed in the following table. ‘In service’ has been taken to mean the effective fleet which covers all aircraft barring those which are redundant, declared as surplus or awaiting disposal. Fit for purpose aircraft are those in the forward fleet considered capable of carrying out their planned missions on a given date. Aircraft in the forward fleet are those that are available to the front line command for operational and training purposes, including those that are classed as ‘short-term unserviceable’: aircraft undergoing scheduled depth maintenance, or planned routine fleet maintenance are excluded. ‘Out of service’ has been taken to mean the non-effective fleet, which covers those aircraft that are redundant, declared as surplus or awaiting disposal.

The following figures are for averages for the month of August 2008.

August 2008

In service aircraft as a percentage of total fleet

Fit for purpose aircraft as a percentage of forward fleet

Out of service aircraft as a percentage of total fleet

Chinook 2/2a1

100

72

0

Merlin Mk11

100

44

0

Merlin Mk3/3a1

100

59

0

Sea King Mk5

100

55

0

Sea King Mk7

100

44

0

Sea King Mk4/6C1

100

59

0

Sea King Mk3/3a

100

47

0

1 Deployed on operations.

The number of helicopters fit for purpose will vary from day to day due, primarily, to routine maintenance requirements. Operational capability is measured in terms of flying hours rather than the number of airframes available. All rotary wing operational requirements are currently being met.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what percentage of helicopters in the (a) Army Air Corps, (b) Fleet Air Arm and (c) Royal Air Forces are (i) in service, (ii) in the forward fleet and (iii) fit for purpose, broken down by helicopter type. (226996)

The numbers and types of helicopters used by the Army Air Corps, Fleet Air Arm and Royal Air Force which are in service, in the forward fleet and considered fit for purpose are detailed in the following table. "In service" has been taken to mean the effective fleet which covers all aircraft barring those which are redundant, declared as surplus or awaiting disposal. Aircraft in the "forward fleet" are those that are available to the front line command for operational and training purposes, including those that are classed as "short-term unserviceable": aircraft undergoing scheduled depth maintenance, or planned routine fleet maintenance are excluded. Fit for purpose aircraft are those in the forward fleet considered capable of carrying out their planned missions on a given date.

The following figures represent averages taken for August 2008.

Total fleet

In service

Percentage of total fleet that is in service

Number in forward fleet

Percentage of in service aircraft that is in the forward fleet

Number fit for purpose

Percentage of forward fleet fit aircraft that is for purpose

Royal Navy

Lynx Mk3/8

71

63

89

43

68

28

65

Sea King Mk5

15

15

100

11

73

6

55

Sea King Mk7

13

13

100

10

77

4

40

Sea King Mk4/6C1

42

42

100

29

69

17

59

Merlin Mkl1

42

42

100

22

52

10

45

Army Air Corps

A109

4

4

100

4

100

3

75

Apache1

67

67

100

50

75

20

40

Gazelle

98

56

57

46

82

37

80

Lynx Mk7/91

109

96

88

61

64

36

59

Royal Air Force

Merlin Mk3/3a1

28

28

100

17

61

10

59

Puma1

43

32

74

24

75

16

67

Chinook 2/2a1

40

40

100

29

73

21

72

Sea King Mk3/3a

25

25

100

17

68

8

47

1 Deployed on operations.

The number of helicopters fit for purpose will vary from day to day due, primarily, to routine maintenance requirements. Operational capability is measured in terms of flying hours rather than the number of airframes available. All rotary wing operational requirements are currently being met.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of helicopters used by British armed forces was contracted from private operators in the latest period for which figures are available. (227976)

In financial year 2007-08 the proportion of helicopters contracted from private operators was 9.6 per cent.