Mon, Apr 12, 2004
Software Blunder Grounds British Chinooks In Iraq
Those are the words being bandied about in the British Defense
Ministry after a software goof-up grounded half of the Queen's
"Thanks to a massively botched job, they cannot be flown when
there is a cloud in the sky," said Edward Leigh, chairman of the
British parliament's accounts committee.
Officials said navigation software critical to the Chinooks'
missions can't be installed. That leaves eight of the twin-rotor
giants sitting on the ground at a cost of about $476 million.
"Instead of desperately needed helicopters, the MOD (Ministry of
Defense) might as well have bought eight turkeys," added Leigh, a
Conservative Minister of Parliament.
The helicopters were purchased from the United States in 1995 by
the Conservative Party government then in power. The Conservatives
have since been ousted by the Labor Party led by Prime Minister
British authorities estimate a fix will cost about $241 million
dollars and can't be completed until 2007 -- nine years after the
Chinooks were supposed to enter British service. There is now some
doubt at Westminster about whether the aircraft will be retrofitted
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