MoD helicopter supply 'cock-up'

15 July 2009

16 July 2009

The sharp rise in deaths of British soldiers in Afghanistan has again called into question the Ministry of Defence's (MoD) procurement of eight Chinook helicopters.

Speaking in Parliament last week, Tory leader David Cameron said: "We have to be frank about the dangers and difficulties in Afghanistan and one of the difficulties is a shortage of helicopters."

He asked Prime Minister Gordon Brown why only one of the eight Chinooks delivered in 2001 was operating in Afghanistan.

A Public Accounts Committee report last year slammed the project to buy the aircraft describing it as a "gold standard cock-up". It was discovered software problems meant they could only fly when the sky was cloudless and landmarks clearly visible.

Brown said the helicopters were in the process of being adapted for Afghanistan. They are not expected to be in service until as late as 2010 (Web news, 4 June 2008).

SMjul2009

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