UK-based military and civilian rotary solutions supplier AceHawk Aerospace is offering its Black Hawk ML-70 solution for the UK’s New Medium Helicopter (NMH) program.
The company’s ML-70 concept makes use of second-hand Black helicopters from US Army or other nations’ stocks with new dynamic components, a modernized COTS glass cockpit (MOSA), in addition to “client specific requirements.”
AceHawk is offering the ML-70 for the UK’s “stop-gap” NMH program that will identify a suitable rotary capability until future next generation rotary solutions become available.
The UK defense ministry expects the NMH to cost up to £1 billion (approx. $1.3 billion) in an investment that would result in replacing the Aerospatiale SA 330E Puma HC2 in Royal Air Force service, and the Bell 212 and Bell 412 in service with the British Army.
AceHawk Aerospace argues that the purchase of used Black Hawks through the ML-70 route would be a cost effective solution for the NMH program as new UH-60Ms “come with a premium price” and a “lengthy waiting list due to demand” and with “little UK value.”
The ML-70 solution would see all of the helicopters built at the company’s Teesside facility in North East England.
“To seek the ‘low risk’ and sustainable option that delivers proven and un-matched capability on time and to budget – as opposed to continuing down the traditional path that, in effect, does very little to secure and diversify the UK Defence Network or provide value-for-money,” the company says.
“In each case we have demonstrated a clear pathway to UK Service for a design that has achieved over 15-million flight hours (2-million combat flight hours) and is still being developed for future roles (Jolly Green 2) with support to 2070.”
The UK defense ministry said earlier that it expects to buy between 36 and 44 aircraft to replace existing helicopters for Army and Strategic Commands. The defense ministry is also looking to buy two simulators.
The UK MoD has also said that 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.