The RAF’s fleet of Puma HC Mk2 helicopters will receive continued support after the Ministry of Defence and Airbus Helicopters UK Ltd struck a new deal.
The deal will allow the RAF’s Puma fleet to continue operating in both planned and responsive operations, from supporting troops on the battlefield to assisting the civil and emergency services as they respond to disasters and emergencies.
The contract deal will cover the maintenance of the Puma HC Mk2s up until March 2022, with the potential for an extension until March 2025 when the aircraft reaches its out of service date.
The maintenance covered in the deal includes technical services, involving safety management and fault investigation.
Material support is also included, covering the repair and overhaul of major components.
Former Defence Minister Harriet Baldwin has said:
“This £100 million investment will ensure our Puma helicopters continue to transport British troops and kit to the front line – helping us provide vital support quickly in rapidly evolving situations”
The deal will help support around 25 jobs at the Airbus company's base in Kidlington and at RAF Benson, where the frontline squadrons operate out of.
RAF maintenance engineers will be provided with a training service under the new contract.
The Puma HC Mk2 was the first helicopter deployed from the UK to the Caribbean after Hurricane Irma devastated the islands in September 2017.
Within 72 hours of receiving the call to action, the Puma helicopter was able to provide emergency humanitarian relief in the form of essential supplies and aid.
The Puma HC Mk2 has also been deployed in Afghanistan since 2015 as part of the UK’s contribution to NATO’s Resolute Support mission.
Air Vice Marshal Graham Russell, Director Helicopters for the MOD’s procurement organisation said:
“The Puma HC Mk2 is carrying out a vital role in troop transport, load movement and humanitarian operations around the world. The upgraded helicopters represent a significant increase in capability over the Mk1.”