§ Mr. Swayne
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what delays there have been in the Apache helicopter programme; and if he will make a statement.
§ Dr. Moonie
[holding answer 22 October 2001]: The Apache aircraft delivery programme has remained close to schedule since contract award in March 1996. The in-service date, based on the delivery of nine aircraft, was achieved on 16 January 2001, only two weeks later than contractually scheduled.
However, Apache aircrew training has been delayed by eight months due to problems with the Full Mission Simulator (FMS). Substantial progress has been made towards resolving these problems, but the FMS is not expected to become available until May 2002. Aircrew training is now scheduled to begin in June 2002. In the meantime, some training is being undertaken in the US.