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Military Aircraft: Helicopters

Volume 486: debated on Monday 12 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what fleets of helicopters are available to UK armed forces in (a) Afghanistan and (b) Iraq; and what future (i) enhancements to the helicopters and (ii) changes to the number of helicopters are planned by his Department. (244575)

We currently have Apache, Chinook, Lynx and Sea King helicopters deployed in Afghanistan and Merlin, Puma and Lynx helicopters deployed in Iraq. I am withholding the number of helicopters we have deployed or will deploy as release would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of our armed forces.

As I set out in my written ministerial statement on 11 December 2008, Official Report, columns 65-67W, we intend to upgrade 12 Lynx Mk9 helicopters with new T800 engines in order to enhance the capability of those helicopters to operate effectively in Afghanistan. We already have work in hand to revert eight Chinook Mk3 aircraft to deliver additional capability from late 2009 and I have set out our intention to deliver additional Apache capability to Afghanistan and switch the Merlin Force there once its mission in Iraq is complete.