Helicopter capability - Defence Committee Contents

5  Towards a Strategic Defence Review

50. On 7 July, the Secretary of State made a written ministerial statement in which he set out the Government's proposals for a new strategic defence review to take place early on in the next Parliament.[92] He announced the publication of a Green Paper in early in 2010 which would, amongst other things, consider lessons "learned from recent operations and the changing character of conflict", "technological changes in defence", and "the modern day requirements on and aspirations of our armed forces personnel".

51. We welcome the Government's announcement of a strategic review of defence, the need for which has long been apparent. The case for better resourcing of helicopters has however, already been made clear. The MoD should not use the announcement of the strategic review to delay the important decision which needs to be taken in relation to the acquisition of the Future Medium Helicopter, albeit on a modified off-the-shelf basis. The time has come to appreciate fully the role of helicopters in modern operations. We expect the Government to stop equivocating over the separate concepts of 'capability', 'capacity', and 'availability'. The MoD should seize the opportunity to recognise the importance of helicopters to current and contingent operations, and work towards strengthening all aspects of capability: the number of helicopters in the fleet, the support structure that underpins their operations, manning, both in the air and on the ground, and finally, the training for the full spectrum of capabilities described by the review itself.

92   HC Deb, 7 Jul 2009, Col 39WS Back

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