The UK House of Commons Defence Committee has called for the Ministry of Defence to urgently examine options for deploying additional helicopters to Iraq to overcome shortfalls in aircraft availability.

A report from the committee on UK operations in Iraq published last week says that the Joint Helicopter Force-Iraq "fulfils an essential role in enabling UK operations on the ground. But we are deeply concerned at the shortage of helicopters in theatre and believe that unless measures are taken to increase the number of helicopters and to reduce pressure on crews, the effectiveness and coherence of UK operations on the ground will suffer." UK minister for armed forces Adam Ingram told the committee during recent hearings that "we have a very sizeable rotary-wing programme, which is currently being evaluated as to what we need, how many and what the cost is going to be".

Source: Flight International