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Military Aircraft: Helicopters

Volume 494: debated on Monday 22 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many military and what percentage of each helicopter type in the (a) Army Air Corps, (b) Royal Navy and (c) RAF are (i) in service and (ii) fit for purpose. (280815)

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 May 2009.

Number of aircraftPercentageNumber of aircraftPercentage

Helicopter Type/Mark

Departmental fleet

Effective fleet

In-Service

Forward fleet

Fit for purpose

Fit for purpose

Royal Navy

Lynx Mk3/Mk8

68

61

90

26

26

100

Sea King Mk5

15

15

100

7

7

100

Sea King Mk7

13

13

100

6

6

100

Sea King Mk4/6

42

42

100

129

16

55

Merlin Mk1

42

42

100

20

14

70

Army Air Corps

Augusta 109

4

4

100

2

3

150

Apache

67

67

100

44

16

36

Gazelle

91

42

46

22

20

91

Lynx Mk7/9

108

94

87

53

31

58

Royal Air Force

Merlin Mk3/Mk3a

28

28

100

19

11

58

Puma

43

34

79

25

17

68

Chinook Mk2/2a

40

40

100

29

18

62

Sea King Mk3/3a

25

25

100

117

10

59