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Chinook Mk3

Volume 697: debated on Tuesday 18 December 2007

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Des Browne) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I announced in March our intention to convert the eight Chinook Mark 3 helicopters to a support helicopter role, in order to make them available to operations as quickly as possible. I am pleased to report that the Ministry of Defence has now signed a contract with Boeing to carry out the modification work. The most likely overall cost to the defence budget to modify the helicopters is £90.1 million, of which £62 million is taken up by the contract with Boeing.

We expect the first aircraft to be available for operations in 2009. These eight additional helicopters will represent a significant uplift to the UK's heavy lift helicopter fleet. As the Chinook fleet has proven on numerous occasions, these helicopters are a key battle-winning capability. The eight converted Chinook will join the existing fleet of 40 RAF Chinook helicopters and will be based at RAF Odiham.