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Sea King Helicopters

Volume 520: debated on Monday 13 December 2010

16. What studies his Department has undertaken on the feasibility of operating the existing fleet of Sea King search and rescue helicopters beyond 2016; and if he will make a statement. (29892)

As part of the review of the search and rescue helicopter project a number of options have been considered, including extending the current search and rescue Sea King helicopters beyond 2016. An announcement will be made shortly.

I thank the Minister for that answer, but will he explain why he plans to spend about £7 billion on American search and rescue helicopters rather than upgrade the Sea Kings at a fraction of the cost? Sea Kings did an incredible job during the flooding in my constituency.

Apart from anything else, that is the plan we inherited. However, I assure the hon. Gentleman that all options are being considered extremely carefully. I repeat that an announcement will be made shortly.