Feeds

No new copters for Afghanistan troops

Needless road-bombing bloodbath set to continue

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The Coalition government, having already cut an order for vital helicopters needed by British troops fighting in Afghanistan, may now cancel it altogether, according to reports.

In its last months in office, the previous Labour government announced plans to order 22 new Chinook helicopters (in addition to two which would replace recent combat losses in Afghanistan). The money was to be found by cutting squadrons of fast jets - in particular, Tornado low-level deep strike bombers. The first 10 helicopters were to come into service in 2012-13.

On arrival in office the Coalition carried out a Strategic Defence Review, personally supervised by Prime Minister Cameron, in which it was decided that the Tornado bomber fleet would be preserved intact, the Chinook order would be cut to just 12 - and, controversially, that the Harrier jumpjet fleet would be scrapped entirely.

Even the much reduced Chinook order has so far failed to actually be signed, and there have since been suggestions that the Ministry of Defence financial assumptions which underlay the Review were too optimistic - thus, that more cuts might be required.

On Monday, in response to a Parliamentary question, Minister for Defence Equipment Support and Technology Peter Luff said that the order could not be confirmed "until the current planning round is settled".

Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy told defencemanagement.com that he was "shocked and concerned" at the events since the election.

"The government have already reduced the order. Now they are refusing to place the order. And, worse than that, they appear to have abolished the order," he said.

"A huge question mark now hangs over whether the government will honour its pledge to provide these much-needed helicopters to Afghanistan.

"The Prime Minister promised that defence cuts will not impact on the frontline in Afghanistan. If he is to keep that promise he must urgently provide clarity on the status of the contract."

Luff did say, without making any promises, that "we understand the importance of these helicopters for the mission in Afghanistan".

The Chinook is the only military helicopter in widespread service with enough power to operate easily in the tough "hot-and-high" conditions of Afghanistan. It has been the workhorse of the entire British (and American) war there, especially since the UK committed to major ground warfare in Helmand province during 2005.

More Chinooks - and specifically, more Chinook flying hours - has been the constant demand of troops fighting there. Other types of British helicopter in Afghanistan are much smaller and less powerful, and are often unable to safely get airborne at all in the heat of the summer "fighting season".

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Next page: Bootnote

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.