Cracks in Sea King helicopters cost taxpayers pounds 10m

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The Independent Online
Cracks in the structure of Sea King helicopters operated by the Royal Navy and RAF have cost taxpayers almost pounds 10m, according to government figures. Nine of the services' 144 helicopters are currently out of service awaiting repairs.

Since the Sea King entered service in 1970 cracks have appeared in 170 lift frames - the part of the fuselage which takes the lift from the rotors - at an average cost of pounds 58,000 per repair. A Fleet Air Arm spokesman said the problem had never been known to cause an accident, but the bulk of the Sea King fleet will be gradually replaced by the new EH101 Merlin helicopter from 1998.

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