18. What progress his Department has made in upgrading helicopter fleets across the armed forces. (905534)
This has so far been a stand-out year in rolling out more than £11 billion of our investment programme in helicopter capability. During this year alone we have already achieved, within time and budget, initial operating capability for the Merlin Mk 2, which we brought in four months ahead of schedule, and the Army Wildcat. We also expect that initial operating milestone for the Puma Mk 2 and the Navy Wildcat next year. We have also achieved the in-service date for the Chinook Mk 6 and taken delivery of six of the 14 new helicopters.
I thank the Minister for that response. He will be aware of the importance of Middle Wallop, the Army Air Corps and the school of Army aviation. Given that the training for the Army Wildcat is conducted at Yeovilton, what reassurance can the Minister give on the future of Middle Wallop in Army 2020?
Middle Wallop, as my hon. Friend has just told the House, is the home of the Army Air Corps school of Army aviation. It will continue to play an important part in preparing our helicopter crews of the future, including the Apache conversion to type training for Army pilots and ground crew.