Troops put at risk by 'irresponsible' MoD

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A programme by the Ministry of Defence to purchase Chinook helicopters was described as "bad decision making to the point of irresponsibility" in a report by MPs yesterday.

The Commons' Committee of Public Accounts said "the consequences have included a shortage of helicopter support in Afghanistan, thereby heightening the risk to the lives of British troops."

The committee revealed that "scarce" Chinooks were being used for basic pilot training because computerised flight simulators had not been modified to reflect the capabilities of the aircraft currently flying in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In the meantime, the total cost has ballooned from £259m to a total in excess of £422m. The MoD said the problems with the Chinook Mk 3 procurement were well-known and that the report contained "nothing new".

A spokesman said: "The department has repeatedly acknowledged the problems with the initial procurement and we have changed the way we do business since these helicopters were bought."