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DSEI 2023: Airbus ‘chomping at the bit' to get NMH done

Airbus is impatient for the UK MoD to proceed with its New Medium Helicopter requirement, for which it is offering the H175M. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Airbus has repeated its call for 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 is “chomping at the bit” to fulfil the requirement with its H175M offering.

Speaking ahead of the DSEI 2023 defence exhibition in London, Lenny Brown, managing director of Airbus Helicopters UK, said that he expects the invitation to negotiate (ITN) to be released before the end of September, and that his company is ready to proceed.

“We are ready to press the green button on NMH, so should the announcement be made soon, then everything is in place in terms of purchase orders for jigs and tools, [and] the training system for all the specialist skills and so on is all set up and ready to go,” Brown said on 8 September. “Broughton [the site chosen to build the H175M] is obviously chomping at the bit to get started.”

The UK's NMH requirement covers the replacement of the Airbus SA 330E Puma HC2 and three other UK military rotorcraft types with 36–44 new medium-lift helicopters, and sees the H175M going up against the Leonardo AW149 and the Sikorsky S-70M Black Hawk.

The NMH procurement plan is now sat with the parliamentary assessment committee and needs to be signed off before it goes to the ITN phase, ahead of a type selection being made.

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