66% of UK helicopters in Afghanistan and Iraq ‘unfit for use

66% of UK helicopters in Afghanistan and Iraq ‘unfit for combat

IAN BRUCE, Defence Correspondent May 23 2008
Comment | Read Comments (1)Almost two-thirds of Britain's £2.1bn Apache attack helicopter fleet and more than half of its vital Chinook transport aircraft are "unfit for purpose" and not ready for combat operations, according to Ministry of Defence figures seen by The Herald.

While the frontline availability of both helicopter types is 66% and 47% respectively, this is only being achieved by cannibalising other machines used for training in the UK and diverting the spare parts to Afghanistan and Iraq. Some of the £30m-apiece Apaches are understood to have been stripped for components before they were even declared operational and are now described by attack squadron members as "Christmas trees" because they exist only as a source of parts in short supply.

Army Air Corps sources also claim that only 40% of the trained crews for the Apaches are available and that manpower levels are unlikely to reach more than 60% of that needed in the near future.
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If the Government will not pay for new issue spare what else can the troops do but Cannibalise.
Always was so, we had plenty of Hanger Queens in my day.
Understand some still post on the Aviation Board.
Yes, I learned the term 'christmas tree' within weeks of getting to Detmold.

Fair comment about apache aircrew though

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