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Airbus pushes for progress on NMH

The H175M appeared in the static display line-up at RIAT 2023. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Airbus is pushing the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to progress its New Medium Helicopter (NMH) requirement at a quicker pace, with a senior official telling Janes and other defence media that it stands ready to deliver on its H175M offering.

Speaking at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at Royal Air Force (RAF) Fairford in Gloucestershire, Lenny Brown, managing director of Airbus Helicopters UK, said that with the invitation to negotiate (ITN) expected from the MoD in the coming weeks, the company is keen to press on with the requirement to replace the Airbus SA 330E Puma HC2 and three other UK military rotorcraft types with 36–44 new medium-lift helicopters.

“We do not anticipate an ITN before September, and we won't know the final requirements until we get the ITN. But we are ready, so let's get on with it,” Brown said on 14 July.

The NMH procurement plan is now scheduled to enter the second phase after Airbus, Boeing, Leonardo, and Lockheed Martin were downselected in the earlier pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) stage. As noted in a recent House of Commons Defence Committee (HCDC) sitting in May, NMH is now sat with the assessment committee, and then needs to be signed off before it goes to the ITN phase ahead of a type selection being made. The Puma replacement helicopter was scheduled to enter service in 2025, but the first helicopters are now not expected to be delivered until early 2027.

Brown told Janes

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