Home Air UK kicks off New Medium Helicopter program, eyeing up to 44-unit buy

UK kicks off New Medium Helicopter program, eyeing up to 44-unit buy

RAF Puma HC2
The New Medium Helicopter program could replace several helicopter types currently in service, including the Puma HC2. Photo: Royal Air Force

The United Kingdom has officially started the program to buy up to 44 new helicopters under the New Medium Helicopter (NMH) program, scheduling a “market interest day” for interested suppliers this month.

The program, which the UK defense ministry expects could cost up to £1 billion (approx. $1.3 billion) is aimed at identifying a solution that would replace a range of helicopters currently in service.

According to earlier reports, the NMH program could replace Aerospatiale SA 330E Puma HC2 in Royal Air Force service, and the Bell 212 and Bell 412 in service with the army.

In the market interest day announcement from November 11, the MoD said it was considering a potential procurement of between 36 and 44 aircraft to replace existing helicopters for Army and Strategic Commands. The defense ministry is also looking to buy two simulators.

An official request for information (RFI) is expected to be released to invited suppliers after the market interest day, which is scheduled for November 25.

The UK MoD previously said the investment in a new medium lift helicopter in the mid-2020s would enable a consolidation of the army’s disparate fleet of medium lift helicopters from four platform types to one, as well the replacement of the Puma helicopter.