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“Only a third of military helicopters are fit for front-line duty”- compromising Afghanistan/Ira

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posted on Jan, 25 2008 @ 02:36 PM
As UK Telegraph reports, two thirds of UKs helicopters in inventory are not in operational status, full story here;

The figures show out of a fleet of 40 Chinook transporters, only 17 are "fit for purpose", while 20 out of 60 new Merlin work properly and only 25 Apache attack helicopters are functioning - almost a third of the total.

Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, said the shortage was sure to impact on capabilities in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"When I visited troops in Helmand Province, in November, it became clear there was a shortage of Apaches and Chinooks to support troops on the ground," he added.

Col Bob Stewart, the former British commander in Bosnia, said the lack of basic equipment "translates into greater casualties".

"If you cannot move people by air it means they have to travel by road which leads to a proportionate increase in the dangers faced," he added.

The MoD said commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan had enough helicopters to do "key tasks" although "with more they could do more".;jsessionid=CYYS2CFQDJCB5QFIQMGSFFWAVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/2008/01/25/nheli125.xml

This is a bit shocking. Having two thirds of operational assets out of action is a SERIUS problem. How did it come to this?

Is it for real or is it a British was of shifting their load to US forces?

posted on Jan, 25 2008 @ 03:20 PM
As far as I was aware, all the Merlins and Apaches are yet to be fully in service and delivered.

The first of some 70 odd Apaches came into service in 2000 and we are still training pilots and the last frame only delivered 3 years ago. However, with the lag in training new pilots, seeing as we only have 19 frames for training at any given time, assuming no breakdowns, only 3 regiments of 18 helicopters are operational. Another two regiments will be in service by 2010.

So, at this time, only 54 Apaches are available for front line duty, assuming no breakdowns or maintainence issues. Obviously, not all Apaches will be on the front line all the time, nor will all of them (both pilots and machines) be fit for service after doing a tour.

Having 1/3rd of the total available for active duty is not bad, considering all the above.

The problem stems from the intensity and length of the deployments this Government has got us involved with. Alongside the fact that other NATO countries aren't pulling their weight, seeing as everyone has stacks of Helicopters, including for instance Dutch Apaches, of which they have 30.

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