The Royal Air Force is for the first time using the spoils of war captured from Argentina in the 1982 Falklands Conflict to provide aircraft and parts in front-line squadrons.
A senior RAF officer told Mercopress that the rear section of an Argentine Chinook helicopter has been bolted on to an RAF Chinook which had been grounded due to lack of spare parts. And the officer confirmed that a Puma helicopter captured in the Falklands Conflict has been refitted and is flying operationally.
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Squire, who commanded a Harrier squadron in the Falklands campaign, has been told by Ministers that efforts should be made to cannibalise aircraft to save money.
The RAF spokesperson told Mercopress: "We had a Chinook helicopter that crashed two years ago in Oman. A new back half would have been hugely expensive and taken a long time to acquire. Boeing did a complete survey of the rear half of an Argentine Chinook we had and it fits beautifully. We also had a captured Argentine Puma helicopter in reserve for a long time, very similar to our own Pumas.
"This situation has not arisen before because aircraft we fought against in the past were not compatible with our aircraft. But the Argentine aircraft are".
The Government has checked that it is legal to use "the spoils of war" in this way.
Harold Briley, London