25pc of Services helicopters are out of action

A quarter of the Armed Forces helicopter fleet is grounded for repairs with many needing lengthy overhauls after flying in Iraq.

With the possibility that attacks on troops could increase after the breakdown in relations with the Basra authorities, there will be increased pressure on helicopter flights to avoid violence.

Out of the Services' fleet of 569 helicopters the latest figures released by the Ministry of Defence show that 121 are under repair and a further 79 have been classified as "unrepairable".

More worryingly for defence chiefs is that a high number of new Merlins, which can carry 25 soldiers, are out of service with one in three under repair.

Half of the ageing Sea King helicopters, used for troop carrying and air-sea rescue, are either undergoing refits or have been written off.

The Army uses helicopters to ferry troops around in Iraq and avoid roadside bomb attacks. Flights run daily from the headquarters at Basra airport to the centre of the city, north into the dangerous Maysan province and a small number of Pumas risk ground fire while ferrying troops around Baghdad.

Daily, flights that do not have a high operational priority are frequently cancelled as helicopters break down. There is also a concern that with a big British deployment to Afghanistan likely next spring, further pressure will be put on the fleet that will again be operating in a difficult environment.
Even if they were all working what are we supposed to use to support Op Herrick?
Never heard "broken down" as a no fly excuse much in the past...................really!!!!
Out of the Services' fleet of 569 helicopters....
So of that nice big figure they've quoted how many are:

- Training aircraft ie, Griffins, Squirrels, etc?

- SAR aircraft which don't deploy?

- Shipboard aircraft (RN Lynx and Merlins)?

- Knackered Chinooks that haven't got the correct instruments to fly on Ops due to some Abbey Wood pen pusher not dotting the i's properly.

Its great when papers quote these huge figures but if they just opened up their 'Janes Big Book Of British Helicopters' they'd see that the number of aircraft assigned to JHC is a lot lower than 569.

Of course that wouldn't sell papers so why let the facts in the way of a good story eh?
Never heard "broken down" as a no fly excuse much in the past...................really!!!!
Yes, obviously its a new system that over-shadows the usual D, P and C states.
I would echo the Stacker's comments. The required operating fleet numbers and actual aircraft numbers are two very different things. Count the Gate Guardians at RAF bases.

90% of statistics are made up?
To be honest I'm not that interested as to how many helicopters we've got in total. What I am interested in is the fact that there are far too few at the sharp end. I won't go into exact figures, but the amount of airframes that are currently in Iraq, supporting a major operation with road movement becoming increasingly dangerous, is absolutely criminal.
What gets to me is the fear that the MOD will set some arbitary target as to the number of airframes to be kept 'flyable' at any one time.

I'd rather that flights got canned because an airframe wasn't safe to fly and needed servicing than I ended up in one which got stacked.

Actually what I'd like to see is a political commitment to purchasing the required new airframes, and everything else which is required to keep an army functioning on operations.
Does this figure include Gate Guardians, Museum displays (Cosford, Hendon, aren't these airframes still on charge as opposed to being SoC?) , Ground instructional airframes at Culdrose, Halton and Cosford etc?

Or is the Government about to return to charge the Scout JW last flew back in 19-Longtime? :D
The figure is not set by the MoD, but by the "customer". It's laid out in a Customer Supplier Agreement.

Therefore if you're RAF, then blame Strike Command, etc.

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