Tuesday, 6 October 2009

government's £1billion response to helicopter criticism

Improvements to Britain's military helicopter fleets are being announced thick and fast in the wake of the harsh criticism doled out to ministers over the summer.

Just over a week ago Defence Minister Quentin Davies said that RAF Chinook helicopters operating in Afghanistan will receive a £408m upgrade to deliver more powerful engines and more advanced, digitised cockpits.

A couple of days later the MoD reported a £300m upgrade to the RAF's Puma fleet which should see improved performance and enable operations in the toughest conditions (Afghanistan perhaps).

The very next day came the announcement that additional Merlin helicopters will be in Afghanistan before the end of the year - "increasing the number of UK helicopters by 25 per cent".

And today the MoD has today announced an Integrated Operation Support (IOS) contract worth £439million aimed at improving the technical, engineering and logistic support available to Apache attack helicopters operating in Afghanistan.

The Apache Project Team Leader in Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), Air Commodore Doug Whittaker said: ”This contract will improve the quality of support provided to the front line as well as making savings over the helicopter’s lifetime. Given the success of Apache on operations, this contract is most timely and welcome.”

Shephard: Army Apaches get a £439m Boost

MoD: Merlins prepare to get hot and high in Afghanistan
MoD: MOD announces £300m to boost Puma power
MoD: RAF Chinooks to be upgraded for Afghanistan