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Puma Review

Volume 491: debated on Thursday 30 April 2009

I am today placing in the Library of the House and on the MOD website, a copy of two reports “The Puma Force—A Review of Contemporary Operating Issues” and the earlier report “A Strategic Review of the Puma Helicopter Force”. These reports were undertaken by the Ministry of Defence as a prudent step following a number of Puma helicopter incidents in 2007. The reports are a comprehensive and honest examination of a wide range of issues, including Puma Force culture, training, flying and operational requirements, structure, leadership and management.

“A Strategic Review of the Puma Helicopter Force” was written for internal consumption and consequently contains sensitive information that we have needed to redact. I realise that this can make the document difficult to read and that is why “The Puma Force—A Review of Contemporary Operating Issues” was written and is also being published. This is an unclassified report, specifically designed to provide a clear narrative and allow the reader to better understand the context in which a series of incidents occurred and the actions taken and planned as a result. As a consequence of the latter, the Puma Force’s capability has been enhanced and the management of safety improved to minimise the risk of further accidents. Clearly, operational flying can never be risk free.

I would stress that there is no suggestion in the documents that the Puma is in any way unsafe to fly.