Home Europe UK MoD launches New Medium Helicopter program

UK MoD launches New Medium Helicopter program

UK launches NMH procurement
Illustration: Royal Air Force file photo of a Puma HC2 that is expected to be replaced as part of the New Medium Helicopter

The UK defense ministry has officially launched the New Medium Helicopter (NMH) program that will procure of up to 44 helicopters to replace existing rotorcraft systems for Army and Strategic Commands.

Between £900 million and £1 billion (approx. $1.3 billion) are expected to be put aside for the replacement of the Aerospatiale SA 330E Puma HC2 in Royal Air Force service, and the Dauphin, and Bell 212 and Bell 412 in service with the British Army.

With this project, the MoD is looking to consolidate the army’s disparate fleet of medium lift helicopters from four platform types to one.

The scope of the contract will also include the provision of training capabilities and a maintenance/spares package as well as design organization scope.

With the NMH program, the UK MoD intends to “rationalize its existing multiple rotary wing requirements into one platform-type, maximizing commonality in order to improve efficiency and operational flexibility.”

The MoD added the program would provide a common medium lift multi-role helicopter, fitted for, but not with, specialist mission role equipment (MRE) and able to operate in all environments in support of defense tasks.

Several companies have already revealed they would be competing for the contract, including Leonardo, Airbus and AceHawk Aerospace.

Leonardo is putting forward its twin-engine multi-role military AW149 for the requirement, while AceHawk is offering the second-hand Black Hawk ML-70 solution, under which it sources helicopters from US Army or other nations’ stocks and updates them with new dynamic components, a modernized COTS glass cockpit (MOSA), in addition to “client specific requirements.” Airbus is pitching the the H175M for the program.

Other contenders that are expected to take part include Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Bell Flight.