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Armed Forces: Helicopters

Volume 704: debated on Tuesday 14 October 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans they have for upgrading helicopters currently in service; how many will be upgraded; over what timescale; and with what expected total budget. [HL5355]

We are planning a series of upgrades which will extend the service life of the majority of our battlefield helicopter fleet. We have already approved the investment of £850 million to upgrade 30 of our Royal Navy Merlin helicopters with a funded option to upgrade a further eight airframes. Under current planning assumptions this work will be completed by 2017. We also plan to invest a further £2 billion over the next 10 years in upgrades to our Apache, Chinook, RAF Merlin, Puma and Sea King Mk4 and Mk7 helicopters. As with all defence programmes, it is not until main gate approval has been obtained that decisions such as final aircraft numbers and the timescales for the upgrades are confirmed.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What capability upgrades are being considered for Apache attack helicopters currently in service; and what are the indicative costs and timescale. [HL5409]

We plan to upgrade the Apache helicopter throughout its life to sustain the capability provided, but as with all defence programmes, it is not until main gate approval for the specific upgrades has been obtained that their content, value and timescales can be confirmed.