HC Deb 11 March 1997 vol 292 cc190-1W
Mr. Wilkinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for training for the medium-support helicopter fleet. [20068]

Mr. Arbuthnot

I am pleased to announce that a medium support helicopter aircrew training facility is to be provided under the Government's private finance initiative, and that a consortium led by CAE Electronics of Canada, containing the UK companies Vega and Serco, has been selected as the preferred bidder. This will provide a training service for our Chinook HC Mk 2 and 3, Merlin HC Mk 3 and Puma HC Mk 1 helicopter crews based on dynamic mission simulators, together with computer-based training and support, housed in a single facility at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire. We plan to let a contract for at least 20 years with CAE for this service on the successful completion of final negotiations, which we hope to complete in the next few months.