Page last updated at 11:48 GMT, Saturday, 18 July 2009 12:48 UK

MoD uses 'cut and shut' chopper

Trooper Sadler. Picture from Ministry of Defence
Jack Sadler was on top of a Land Rover when it hit a mine

An admission that a "cut and shut" helicopter was used in Afghanistan has angered the father of a dead soldier.

Ian Sadler, from Exmouth, has been openly critical of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) since his son Jack, 21, died in Afghanistan in December 2007.

The MoD told Mr Sadler the helicopter was a combination of a crashed RAF Chinook and an Argentinian Chinook.

An MoD spokesman told BBC News the work had been done by "highly skilled aviation technicians".

The spokesman said the helicopter had been withdrawn from Afghanistan, but was still in service.

'Cost-effective solution'

The front of the helicopter was from an RAF Chinook which crashed in Oman in 1999 when its rear blades touched the ground, ripping out one of the engines.

The rear of the aircraft was taken from a former Argentinian Air Force Chinook helicopter which was seized in June 1982 during the recapture of the Falklands.

The MoD said it re-entered service in 2003 after being successfully air tested.

The information was disclosed in a letter to Mr Sadler in response to a direct question he asked the former defence secretary Des Brown during a meeting on 9 September last year.

"It was a soldier on rest and recuperation (R and R) from Afghanistan who came into my shop and passed on the information that a cut and shut helicopter was being used," Mr Sadler told BBC News.

"There've been lots of things that have come out since Jack was killed, but I couldn't believe this" Mr Sadler told BBC News.

'Routine business'

Mr Sadler's son, a trooper in the Honourable Artillery Company, was killed when his non-armoured Land Rover hit a mine.

The MoD said using parts from two helicopters was "the most timely and cost-effective solution" to returning the aircraft to service.

A spokesman said: "The work was conducted by highly skilled aviation technicians and the aircraft returned to service after extensive air testing and signing off by the Aircraft Design Authority, Boeing.

He said it was "routine business" for the RAF to ensure the most effective use of resources.

If you gave them flip flops and catapults they'd still go out there and do the job for us
Ian Sadler

But Mr Sadler said it was a "real scandal" and showed a lack of support for the troops fighting in Afghanistan.

"There are about 8,000 troops at war in Afghanistan without proper support," Mr Sadler said.

He said the responsibility lies with the "people at the top who control the purse strings".

"We've got soldiers we don't deserve, who go through the next best thing to hell out there.

"If you gave them flip flops and catapults they'd still go out there and do the job for us, but we don't support our men."

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Ian Sadler, whose son Jack was killed on active duty is angry a "cut and shut" helicopter was used in Afghanistan



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