London, May 2 (ANI): Fewer than one in three of Britain's Apache attack helicopters is 'fit for frontline combat operations, the country's defence ministry has said.
The Telegraph quoted experts, as saying that this alarming statistic is due to wear and tear, as also the heat and dust of the Helmand Desert in southern Afghanistan, where British troops are deployed to take on the Taliban.
Of the 67 helicopters in service, just 18 (27 percent) are available for front line operations in Afghanistan or for training pilots in the United Kingdom.
Ministry of defence figures obtained by the Conservative Party also show that only 44 per cent of the RAF's Chinook helicopters, 35 per cent of Merlins and 43 per cent of the Royal Navy's Sea Kings are available for service in Afghanistan.
The Apache attack helicopter provides vital "top cover" for troops serving in Helmand Province and is on constant call when soldiers patrol in enemy controlled areas such as the "Green Zone".
The heavily armed Apache, which is equipped with a 30mm chain gun, CRV7 rockets and Hellfire anti-tank missiles, has saved numerous British lives.
It is also fitted with a vast array of highly sophisticated night vision equipment and is often used on reconnaissance missions. (ANI)