• This is a stand-to for an incoming competition, one of our most expensive yet.
    Later this week we're going to be offering the opportunity to Win £270 Rab Neutrino Pro military down jacket
    Visit the thread at that link above and Watch it to be notified as soon as the competition goes live

News story: MOD announces investment in upgrading helicopter fleet

#1
In the last 12 months, the Puma Mk2, Merlin Mk2, Chinook Mk6 and both the Royal Navy and British Army Wildcats have all been declared ready for operational use.

As a result, UK forces now have new military capabilities that can be deployed around the world. The Merlin Mk2 is currently delivering vital support in Sierra Leone to tackle the spread of Ebola; the Puma Mk2 is preparing to contribute to NATO’s training and assistance mission in Afghanistan; and the Royal Navy Wildcat is deploying for global maritime operations.


Defence Minister Philip Dunne is shown around the Apache at RAF Benson

Attending an event at RAF Benson to showcase the enhanced capability of the Chinook Mk6, Merlin Mk2, Puma Mk2 and the new Wildcat helicopter, Defence Minister Philip Dunne said:


Along with making huge savings for the taxpayer, the government has invested some £6 billion to sustain and improve our helicopter capability over the last four years. We will continue this investment with a further £11 billion budgeted to be spent over the next decade.

I am grateful for the important role played by industry in these successes, particularly by our helicopter prime contractors. There is no doubt that the work across these businesses and their supply chains has brought huge benefits to the UK economy, with around 4,000 jobs sustained in Britain.

Defence Minister Philip Dunne at RAF Benson for helicopter capability demonstration

Also at the event, it was announced that the MOD has joined the 5% Club, pioneered by QinetiQ, a commitment by the Department to ensure that 5% of our work force has young people on structured training schemes. Defence already exceeds the target, and the MOD’s Chief of Materiel (Joint Enablers), Pete Worrall, is one of the Department’s most senior former apprentices after starting with the MOD in 1980.

Pete, who is in charge of Helicopter procurement and support, said:


I am extremely proud of the work undertaken since the agreement of the Rotary Wing Strategy in 2009, to ensure the delivery of major helicopter capability and the transformation of the helicopter support solutions.

This is a complex portfolio that has been executed extremely professionally. As a result, DE&S is providing our Armed Forces with one of the most capable and technologically advanced helicopter fleets in the world.

Successes already delivered across the Chinook, Puma, Merlin and Wildcat fleets are providing improved platform performance, mission capability, role flexibility and safety to help support operations across the world.

Major General Richard Felton, Commander of Joint Helicopter Command, said:


Our investment and collective endeavours are now beginning to deliver the next generation of battlefield helicopters for UK Defence, and these will enable the Joint Helicopter Command to remain at the forefront, projecting and sustaining key battlefield helicopter capabilities into the future.

Commodore Matt Briers Royal Navy, Assistant Chief of Staff Carrier Strike and Aviation, added:


The Merlin and Wildcat HMA are now both fully digital, and as such, are 21st century aircraft for a 21st century Royal Navy. Together these aircraft give the Fleet Air Arm increased capability and as such will make a manifest contribution to the security of the nation to counter threats across maritime spheres.

Continue reading...
 
#2
Puma Mk2 - being assembled in Romania.

I hope it's an improvement on the falling-apart-and-doors-flying-off-sudden-engine-failures things we had in Belize in the 70's.
 
#3
Be nice if we had some people to go in them, how come we have plenty of money for things but none for people?
 
#5
Genuine question, why do we need 3 different types of troop carrying helcopter? Wouldn't it ease logistics, training and maintenance to just have a single type?
Can't use a Chinny to do everything, too big, Puma has been paid for as has Merlin. The RAF didn't really want Merlin in the first place but, as with the Army and Wildcat, the RN needs drove procurement to try and get reasonable price with a higher production run. Whether this worked or not is open to debate.
 
#6
These are Puma's that have been upgraded from mk1 to mk2's? Pretty amazing that machines I was flying around in back in the mid seventies are going to be still flying troops around after all this time. I really rated them in my day.
 
Last edited:
#7
Mod re announcing contracts that have already been announced? Surely not.
 
#9
ISTR the Romanians have been building Puma for years. The ones at BLMF a few years ago were pretty solid.
Which is more than the Pumas we had in Belize were at the time.
 
#11
Genuine question, why do we need 3 different types of troop carrying helcopter? Wouldn't it ease logistics, training and maintenance to just have a single type?
Short answer is, we don't. The odd one out is Puma, lord only knows why we threw money at an obsolete airframe to turn it into a slightly less obsolete airframe.

Otherwise the RN using Merlin, the RAF the larger but not as ship friendly Chinook, and the Army and RN operating Wildcat isn't a bad arrangement at all.
 
#13
I remember having a debate with someone here before..... Why not (if funds are available to upgrade Puma) get rid of Puma and standardise with Merlin and Chinook (medium and heavy lift) for the RAF?

And the AAC continue with Wildcat (light lift)
 
#14
I remember having a debate with someone here before..... Why not (if funds are available to upgrade Puma) get rid of Puma and standardise with Merlin and Chinook (medium and heavy lift) for the RAF?

And the AAC continue with Wildcat (light lift)
Why not keep a wide range of airframes to enable a wide range of tasks to be performed?

BTW, the Merlins were transferred to the RN last year.

http://www.raf.mod.uk/news/archive/royal-air-force-hand-over-merlin-to-royal-navy-01102014
 
#19
Will this news include the caveat that you can't fly in clouds?

In 2005, the Department acknowledged that the Chinook Mk3 project had been badly handled and was one of its worst procurement experiences.4 The eight Chinook Mk3 helicopters initially cost some £259 million and the Department took delivery of them from Boeing in December 2001. The hybrid digital and analogue cockpit avionics could not be shown to meet United Kingdom airworthiness standards. As a result, the helicopters could only be granted a limited release to fly, and are restricted to flying on cloudless days above 500 feet where the pilot can navigate via landmarks. This makes them completely unsuitable for use on operations.
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmselect/cmpubacc/247/9780215526663.pdf

On a personal note I am glad they re-invigorated the Puma. It is my favourite helicopter, as a kid we went to a lot of air shows and the Puma pilots used to put the aircraft through all sorts of vicious moves that no other pilots seemed willing to do with theirs.

I once saw one come over the airfield at great height, then suddenly just tip forward and fly straight toward the ground - nose first - at great speed. Seemingly last second levelled out and went full on with the throttle to act as a brake before slowly coming to the ground. Pilot explained they could use it to drop into dense areas without attracting ground fire, but it put huge stress on the airframe so they tried not to do it and not all choppers were physically strong enough to do it at all. Was hooked from then really...
 
Last edited:

New Posts

Latest Threads

Top