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Leonardo Lobbying for Puma Replacement to Secure Yeovil future

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Leonardo Lobbying for Puma Replacement to Secure Yeovil future

Old 21st Jan 2021, 16:29
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Options for Puma and Merlin Replacement

After reading the Flight Global article which triggered the Chinook/RAF Café with exhibits thread I noticed an article regarding Puma replacement

UK keeps options open for Puma replacement, but deadline will be too early for FVL

Apologies for the length of the following quotes - I don't have time to precis acurately.

The UK is unlikely to replace its fleet of Airbus Helicopters Puma HC2s with a high-speed platform from the USA’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) programme due to timing issues, but nonetheless continues to assess that effort – and a separate NATO-led initiative – against its longer-term requirements.
While the UK believes that “there is a requirement for a medium aircraft in the future”, the 23 Pumas operated by the Royal Air Force are due for retirement by 2025, says Colonel Paul Morris, assistant head of plans, capability air manouevre for the British Army.But that timeframe is likely to be too tight to dovetail with the US Army’s FVL effort, which foresees service entry of a new rotorcraft under its Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) programme – either the Bell V-280 Valor or Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant – around 2030.
“We don’t believe that FLRAA will come on line rapidly enough to replace the capability currently delivered by the Puma,” Morris told the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Next-Generation Rotorcraft Conference on 20 January.
While the exact timeline has still to be decided, “suffice to say that they just don’t match in terms of the first entry into service on the other side of the pond and our own requirement to replace medium”.
While the Puma’s out-of-service date could be extended, says Morris, obsolescence issues will become more of a problem, despite it remaining a “capable aircraft”.But that timeframe is likely to be too tight to dovetail with the US Army’s FVL effort, which foresees service entry of a new rotorcraft under its Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) programme – either the Bell V-280 Valor or Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant – around 2030.
“We don’t believe that FLRAA will come on line rapidly enough to replace the capability currently delivered by the Puma,” Morris told the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Next-Generation Rotorcraft Conference on 20 January.
While the exact timeline has still to be decided, “suffice to say that they just don’t match in terms of the first entry into service on the other side of the pond and our own requirement to replace medium”.
While the Puma’s out-of-service date could be extended, says Morris, obsolescence issues will become more of a problem, despite it remaining a “capable aircraft”.
Lieutenant Commander Andrew White, ... holding a post in the UK’s capability air manoeuvre body, told the conference that any interim Puma replacement would be expected to have a service life of around 20 years.
On that basis “the UK would be looking again around 2045”. If the service life of the Merlin fleet was extended, that would be retired around 2040.
“From the mid-2030s to 2040 there is definitely a UK requirement on two fronts,” he says.

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Old 22nd Jan 2021, 10:07
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Airbus are in the fight too..
https://www.janes.com/defence-news/n...acement-for-uk
https://www.flightglobal.com/helicop...142073.article

Airbus Helicopters could offer the H175 super-medium-twin to the UK as a replacement for the Royal Air Force’s fleet of Puma utility helicopters in 2025 – despite the fact that no military variant of the 8t rotorcraft exists.

In fact, Airbus Helicopters has consistently said that it was prevented from developing a military version due its partnership agreement with China on the programme.



Source: Airbus Helicopters

Hong Kong’s Government Flying Service operates H175 for SAR missions

However, Jerome Combe, head of product policy and strategy at the airframer, told the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Next-Generation Rotorcraft Conference on 21 January that it could offer several alternatives as a Puma replacement, including the H175.

The Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-powered twin could “really offer a huge opportunity for the UK”, he says, including in-country final assembly and increased national content.

UK-built examples could also be offered for export, he says.

China’s Avicopter has been a partner on the programme since its launch in 2005. It supplies components to the H175, including fuselage parts, but also builds its own version, the AC352, which is powered by Safran Ardiden 3C engines.

Airbus Helicopters declines to comment on how it would sidestep limitations relating to a military variant. However, one solution could be to substitute Chinese content on the helicopter.

An Airbus Helicopters spokesman says: “Airbus Helicopters looks forward to addressing the UK’s future medium helicopter requirements as they take shape and we are confident that we can offer attractive solutions which will both fully meet the armed forces’ operational needs and contribute to a strong national prosperity agenda.

“Airbus has an established, substantial and world-class design and manufacturing footprint in the UK and we have never been averse to the implementation of a helicopter final assembly line where it makes commercial sense for the worldwide market.”

As part of its unsuccessful bid to sell search and rescue-roled H175s to competitors for the UK’s SAR privatisation last decade, Airbus Helicopters offered a degree of industrial participation in the programme.

Under that initiative it promised to turn its Aberdeen, Scotland site into a SAR “centre of excellence”, providing training and modification work for all SAR-configured H175s.



Source: Crown Copyright

Puma fleet was raised to HC2 standard in 2010s

At present the Puma has an out of service date of 2025, but Airbus Helicopters says it could support the type up to 2035, potentially aligning its departure with the arrival of a next-generation platform.

Although initially delivered in the 1970s, the UK’s current 23-strong fleet were modernised in the mid-2010s, raising them to the HC2 standard, an upgrade that included a new digital cockpit and uprated engines.

“The Puma 2 is a proven high-performance and value-for-money capability, which entered service in 2015 hosting the latest digital avionics and mission systems.

“Airbus is committed to its support and continued service beyond its current out-of-service date out to 2035.”

No programme of record for a Puma replacement currently exists, with a decision to be influenced by the UK Ministry of Defence’s ongoing Integrated Review.

However, should a requirement emerge, Leonardo Helicopters will offer the 8.6t AW149, which would also be built in the UK.

Leonardo has a more pressing need to secure work for its Yeovil final assembly line in Somerset: having assembled the final AW159 Wildcat in 2019 it is currently only building AW101s.
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Old 15th Nov 2021, 07:37
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https://www.flightglobal.com/helicop...146362.article

UK could buy up to 44 helicopters under £1 billion NMH acquisition

UK defence officials are prepared to spend up to £1 billion ($1.3 billion) on as many as 44 aircraft under the country’s nascent New Medium Helicopter (NMH) programme, according to newly published tender documents.

Posted by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 11 November, the contract opportunity notice is the first step in the effort to replace the Royal Air Force’s 23-strong fleet of Puma HC2 helicopters, plus three other types operated by the British Army.

Potential suppliers have been invited to a “market interest day” on 25 November to “further inform the NMH requirement and procurement strategy”, says the document.

“As part of market industry day and to better understand the market, the [MoD] intends to issue requests for information with invited suppliers on key elements of the NMH programme and for industry to respond to in writing,” it says.

According to the draft scope of the requirement, between 36 and 44 helicopters could be acquired, alongside simulators, training and support services; the estimated total value of the contract is £1 billion.

The MoD hopes to publish the contract by 1 July 2022, it adds.
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Old 15th Nov 2021, 07:53
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I find it quite interesting that australia is leasing 2 AW149's for at least 2 and maybe 3 years and attaching them to one of the MRH-90 squadrons so that the pilots can fly them to keep their flight hours up. Wonder if this be a bit of a trend, the spanish supply ship Cantabria was seconded to the RAN for 8 months. Apparently RAN was so impressed by it that they then ordered 2 of them (Supply and Success) instead of keeping the 2 old ones
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Old 15th Nov 2021, 08:59
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Originally Posted by rattman View Post
Apparently RAN was so impressed by it that they then ordered 2 of them (Supply and Success) instead of keeping the 2 old ones
They didn't have the option of keeping the two old ones. They were nigh-on 35 years old and knackered. Not to mention being non-compliant with current regulations.

What Navantia / Spanish government did do was to give them an incentive.
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Old 15th Nov 2021, 09:11
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Originally Posted by Not_a_boffin View Post
They didn't have the option of keeping the two old ones. They were nigh-on 35 years old and knackered. Not to mention being non-compliant with current regulations.

What Navantia / Spanish government did do was to give them an incentive.
The reason why we needed the spanish one was because we were reffiting the old ones, they were refitted in singapore to bring them up to the new regulations. Later naventia and Hyundai were given the opportunity to tender for the replacements as part of a restricted tender competition.

But this is just bringing the a thread off topic. Wonder if this is going to give the army an option to test drive the a AW149. You dont buy a car without a test drive why would you buy a helicopter with out one
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Old 15th Nov 2021, 11:19
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the Royal Air Force’s 23-strong fleet of Puma HC2 helicopters, plus three other types operated by the British Army


.Bell 212, Gazelle and Dauphin? Seems to be a disparate size mix to be replaced by a medium helicopter?.
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Old 15th Nov 2021, 13:32
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Originally Posted by Davef68 View Post
.Bell 212, Gazelle and Dauphin? Seems to be a disparate size mix to be replaced by a medium helicopter?.
I believe it's the Bell 412 (still used in Cyprus) rather than the Gazelle in this context. There was a post in another Thread stating that apparently Draken Europe are winding that operation down along with all the others which ties in with these plans, as they maintain all of these 3 for the MOD.
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Old 15th Nov 2021, 15:29
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Originally Posted by Davef68 View Post
.Bell 212, Gazelle and Dauphin? Seems to be a disparate size mix to be replaced by a medium helicopter?.
I'd say the quote is likely mixing army and RAF, something the press has historically facepalmed with. 212 (AAC), 412 (RAF) Dauphin (aac)
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Old 15th Nov 2021, 19:17
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Originally Posted by pba_target View Post
I'd say the quote is likely mixing army and RAF, something the press has historically facepalmed with. 212 (AAC), 412 (RAF) Dauphin (aac)
ukdefencejournal's article following the review seems to have stopped many journos wading through the tosh that is Defence in a Competitive Age. As we know that states:

7.39. The Army is retiring its oldest CH-47 Chinook helicopters and investing, alongside the US, in newer variants of this operationally proven aircraft, enhancing capability, efficiency and interoperability. Our AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopters will be upgraded to a state-of-the-art capability by 2025. Investment in a new medium lift helicopter in the mid-2020s will enable a consolidation of the Army’s disparate fleet of medium lift helicopters from four platform types to one; including the replacement of Puma. The Army will also retain and upgrade Watchkeeper.
Which may also account for the 'Army helicopters'

The Army's public message is:

The New Medium Helicopter Programme will see four of the medium-sized helicopters currently in service across Defence replaced by one new helicopter. This will include the Bell 212 that is used by the Army Air Corps in the jungle areas of Brunei.
The obvious others, besides the Pumas, are the 412s in Cyprus and the Dauphins, the only question about the latter being will the new medium helicopter provide what ever it is currently justifies 658 having its own type to support SF ops.

As the Bell 212s and 412s are COMR presumably still owned by FB Heliservices (formerly part of Cobham) / (Sold to Draken Bidco) /(or whoever else they may next belong to) does that mean a change to the way 84 and 667 squadrons' cabs are provided? If Draken are winding down their related operations, as Bolso says, then their replacement becomes more urgent. UPDATE:I've just read the Rotorheads post Bolso refers to https://www.pprune.org/showthread.php?p=11134089 "Draken have just informed staff that they are pulling the pin on all their helicopter contracts".

Air Cdre Al Smith of JHC disclosed at Defence IQ International Military Helicopter in 2018 that plans for a replacement of the chicken legs were in place, based on an OSD of 2025 which might have to be brought forward due to spares isues - whether the review squashed that is another question. Fight Global reported:
Employed by the Army Air Corps in the reconnaissance and battlefield liaison role, the Gazelle also relies on a pool of what Smith describes as “really highly-trained” flightcrew, who are used to operating as a single pilot in “quite challenging weather conditions”.
“How much longer do we want to rely [on those crews]...and at what point do we want technology to reduce that workload?” asks Smith.
A replacement programme is unlikely to be a like-for-like acquisition: thanks to advances in technology, Smith believes that a similar or better capability could be provided with a smaller number of platforms.
“Looking at the number of Gazelles, we think we can deliver a customer product with significantly fewer than we have today,” he says.
My view, for what its worth, is a few may continue whistling for some time (the remainder being RTP for spares) while being replaced by a UAS in roles for which it makes sense to do so. Davef68 may recall recommending the H135 as a replacement at the time.

Last edited by SLXOwft; 15th Nov 2021 at 19:44. Reason: Read Rotorheads Post
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Old 16th Nov 2021, 12:30
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
But that would have been 12 EC725s plus 24 unconverted Puma 1 still available to do whatever with.
Oh great, another fleet.
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Old 13th Dec 2021, 18:59
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Sikorsky are pitching the Polish built Blackhawks to replace Puma.

https://www.flightglobal.com/helicop...146812.article


The US airframer, part of Lockheed Martin, proposed the S-70M in its response to a request for information from the UK Ministry of Defence submitted on 9 December.
plus you can hang your motorbike on it,

https://electrek.co/2021/11/17/speci...c-motorcycles/
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 11:22
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I remember reading over the years that the Blackhawk was considered to have too small a capacity for UK requirements. Has the requirement been 'adjusted'?
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 13:11
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Well we have reduced the size of the army
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 13:30
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Originally Posted by Davef68 View Post
I remember reading over the years that the Blackhawk was considered to have too small a capacity for UK requirements. Has the requirement been 'adjusted'?
Maybe someone realised the UK isn't that different to the ~30 countries using Blackhawk variants and having niche requirements isn't cheap?
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 13:58
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I can do the UK a great deal on 47 one owner barely run-in NH90's complete with spares and a flt sim or two. Available starting in 2022. Great for UK and Euro conditions. Bargain price....will accept bottle caps as down payment....
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 16:42
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Originally Posted by TBM-Legend View Post
I can do the UK a great deal on 47 one owner barely run-in NH90's complete with spares and a flt sim or two. Available starting in 2022. Great for UK and Euro conditions. Bargain price....will accept bottle caps as down payment....
Swop you for an loan of an SSN?
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 21:29
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Originally Posted by Davef68 View Post
Swop you for an loan of an SSN?
I would think a straight trade for your C-130J's the MOD is dumping is probably pretty reasonable
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Old 16th Dec 2021, 19:28
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Originally Posted by Davef68 View Post
I remember reading over the years that the Blackhawk was considered to have too small a capacity for UK requirements. Has the requirement been 'adjusted'?
Maybe you read it wrong.

Was it not "too small a capacity for Westlands/AN Other Brit manufacturer to jump on the gravy train and double the cost over an OTS purchase by squeezing in unnecessary British "improvements"?
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Old 18th Dec 2021, 14:29
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Puma has had it’s OSD reiterated as 2025, will cover Brunei and Cyprus commitments. Arguments over replacement will be delayed/roll over. Nowt gonna happen for a couple of years.
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