High-tech UK Chinook helicopters languish in hangars after costly software error

By Jill Lawless, AP
Tuesday, August 25, 2009

UK Chinook choppers languish after software error

LONDON — A British newspaper says eight high-tech military helicopters have been out of service for eight years because defense officials tried to save money by installing homemade software in the aircraft.

The Times of London reported Tuesday that the eight Chinook Mk3s cost 259 million pounds but have been in storage since they were delivered to Britain in 2001.

The paper said British officials tried to install their own software rather than pay manufacturer Boeing for its version — a charge the Ministry of Defense denies.

The British defense ministry says officials who ordered the helicopters in 1995 failed to ask Boeing for access codes for the software so they could do tests to make sure the helicopters would fly properly. It has previously apologized for the error.

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