Attrition: Brit Choppers Choke On The Dust


November 18, 2007: Britain is finding that Iraq and Afghanistan are rough places for helicopter operations. While they were warned by American operators, the Brits were not able to pile on the additional spare parts and maintenance personnel needed to achieve American levels of readiness (about 70 percent). Last year, the British Apache (AH-64) and Chinook (CH-47) helicopters were ready for action 60 percent of the time. After heavier use this year, that rate fell to 50 percent. The only helicopter type with a good readiness rating (80 percent) was the Gazelle, which is used to reconnaissance, and ferrying around senior brass. The army is asking parliament for more money to pay for the higher maintenance costs encountered in hot and dusty Afghanistan and Iraq.


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