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UK MoD response to PAC report on Chinook MK3 helicopters

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: 06 March, 2009  (New Product)
Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies has today commented on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report into the MoD's procurement of eight Chinook Mk3 helicopters for the RAF.
This is the fourth report to deal with the Chinook MK3 helicopters and their procurement has been examined in great detail, well-documented and lessons have been acted upon.

Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies said:

'This is the fourth report which has focussed on the Chinook Mk3 and it offers nothing new. This was a very bad case, and I entirely accept the criticism that successive reports have made. The contract was signed in 1997 - before the introduction of Smart Procurement. Since then we have fundamentally changed our methods of doing business, but this episode will remain a salutary example to us all.

'I am sure that given the problems that existed with this contract the decision to convert these eight aircraft to a support Helicopter role was the right one. This will enable us, subject to operational requirements, to increase our Chinook fleet in Afghanistan in 2010 - two years earlier than would otherwise have been possible. This would build on the significant increases in Chinook flying rates that we have already delivered. We are also upgrading Lynx Mark 9 helicopters to improve their performance in the hot and high conditions of Afghanistan and will be switching the Merlins to Afghanistan once they have completed their mission in Iraq - all of which will deliver a significant increase in Helicopter capability available to operational commanders in Afghanistan.

'Our priority is on giving military commanders in Afghanistan the helicopters they need, and we have already increased flying hours and Helicopter numbers in Afghanistan by 60% over the last two years.'

In addition we have deployed upgraded Sea King helicopters to Afghanistan and acquired 6 new Merlin aircraft from Denmark to increase our Merlin fleet by 25%.
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