Saturday 18 July 2009




THE Ministry of Defence admitted last night that an RAF Chinook helicopter flown in Afghanistan has been cobbled together from the front and back of two old aircraft.

Officials earlier denied the hybrid had been operational in the Middle East.
The aircraft was made up from two others – one which crashed in 1999 and one taken from the Argentinians during the Falklands war. The two parts were fused together – a “cut and shut” technique often used illegally by dodgy car dealers – and the aircraft went back into service in 2003.
The MoD statement followed an embarrassing disclosure by former Defence Secretary John Hutton in a letter to Ian Sadler, whose 21-year-old son Jack was killed in Afghanistan in December 2007. Mr Sadler, of Exmouth, Devon, said he was told about the hybrid helicopter by a soldier who claims he had been inside it in Afghanistan within the last year and that it had two different identification numbers.
The MoD would not confirm its whereabouts. But last night a spokesperson said: “We argue it’s a good use of resources.”

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This story so infuriated me when I read it, I thought I should reproduce it here.


Oldrightie said...

Arthur Daley would have been proud. A cut and shut chopper.

Anonymous said...

We know what happens to criminals who do that with cars, so apart from the obvious saving the money routine, this is surely illegal. Someone needs shooting over this.

Doubting Richard said...

I really, really hate to defend the government, especially on helos in Afghanistan. However this is probably a non-story, typical press misunderstanding of what they're writing about. Impossible to tell without more details about the repair.

As I wrote here most stories in the paper I can assess are wrong in important ways. The industry I mention working in there is aviation. It is common practice to use parts from one aircraft to repair another. With a typical holiday jet the only major component swapped would be the engines, but many non-structural elements like fairings, panels, avionics and machinery plus doors, gear components and some other smaller structural elements might well be.

I never flew the Chinook, and know little specific about its construction. However it is an excellent aircraft with a fantastic safety record. Maintenance in the military is generally good, and the repair was probably done very well. After all the aircraft has flown many hours safely since.

Did you know that half the UK Hercules fleet has been cut in half and fitted back together? a section was added to extend the length of the aircraft, and done perfectly safely.

Doubting Richard said...

Have seen a couple of other posts about this, so have written my own post.

banned said...

They'll be winding back the mileometer next.

Barking Spider said...

Get your dodgy helicopter MOT's here!