THIS WEEK IN 1998: Helicopter crash is £75m headache

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An accident to a prototype helicopter being developed by a Portsmouth company sent the bill to the taxpayer for the project soaring by £75m, a government watchdog revealed.

The Merlin EH 101 pre-production prototype aircraft – being developed by Lockheed Martin – suffered the accident in Milan, Italy, in August 1996.

This would go on to cost £75m because of an eight-month delay before flying restarted, according to a National Audit Office report.