Gordon Brown has insisted British troops in Afghanistan have the equipment they need.
The Prime Minister said: “It is completely wrong to say that the loss of lives has been caused by the absence of helicopters.”
He was speaking after Foreign Office minister Lord Malloch Brown admitted in a newspaper interview that the UK did not have enough helicopters.
Mr Brown was backed by Birmingham MP Gisela Stuart (Lab Edgbaston), a member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, who said: “There is no evidence that the tragic deaths we have seen in recent weeks could have been avoided if more helicopters were available.
“The work British soldiers are doing has to be done on the ground. A lot of it involves gathering intelligence, for example. There may be a case for ensuring more helicopters are available when large numbers of troops are being moved.”
The Prime Minister defended the Government’s treatment of the armed forces at his regular Downing Street press conference.
Mr Brown said the Government had already increased the numbers of helicopters deployed in the country, with more due in the coming months, and claimed British troops had all the resources they need to complete the current Operation Panther’s Claw offensive in central Helmand.
“I am satisfied that Operation Panther’s Claw has the resources it needs to be successful,” he said.
“The fact that it is making progress and yielding results already shows that that is the case. I am confident that we will bring this operation to a successful outcome.
“It is very important to recognise what the commanders are saying on the ground, the increase we have already made in helicopters, and what we are going to do in future months.”
His comments came after the Foreign Office Minister Lord Malloch-Brown re-ignited the row over the availability of helicopters in Afghanistan, when he said in a newspaper interview that there were “definitely” not enough.