Ministry of Defence: Chinook Mk3

HC 247, Eighth Report of Session 2008-09 - Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence

House of Commons - Public Accounts Committee
TSO (The Stationery Office)
Ministry of Defence: Chinook Mk3 - Front
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In 1995, the Ministry of Defence ordered 14 Chinook Mk2a helicopters. Six of these were retained as Mk2a and have flown satisfactorily ever since they were delivered. The other eight were modified to an Mk3 standard in order to meet a requirement for Special Forces.

The Committee examined the procurement of these eight helicopters in its report on Battlefield Helicopters (ISBN 9780215022714) and considered it to be one of the worst examples of equipment procurement that it had ever seen.

The Chinook Mk3 project has been a catalogue of errors from the start. The original contract was ill defined, preventing easy access to software source code that was key to enabling certification for airworthiness.

Further operational requirements and difficult commercial negotiations led to a five-year period of protracted negotiation and slow decision making under a project known as Fix to Field.

The absence of these helicopters has meant that British troops in Afghanistan have had to make do with fewer helicopters and these delays have potentially put the lives of British service personnel at greater risk.

In 2007 the Department scrapped the Fix to Field project in favour of a new project called Reversion, designed to accelerate the helicopters' entry into operational service. But the Department failed to consult with Boeing, the manufacturer of the helicopters, with regard to the potential costs or timeframes, and the estimated cost of the project subsequently grew by 70%.

The cost of the eight Chinook Mk3 helicopters once they enter service will be in excess of 422 million, or 52.5 million each. Alternatives that may have been available at the time the original order was placed may have been cheaper than the final costs of these Chinooks.

Extent 33 pages ISBN 9780215526663
Size A4 Price £10.00
Format Paperback Published 05 Mar 2009
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