skip to main content

UK reports ‘positive progress' on NMH

Through the NMH programme, the UK is looking to replace its ageing Puma HC2 helicopters with up to 44 new rotorcraft. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The UK government has said “positive progress” is being made on the New Medium Helicopter (NMH) programme to replace the Airbus SA 330E Puma HC2 in military service.

Answering questions in the House of Commons, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) James Cartlidge said on 13 February that the effort to replace the Puma HC2s with up to 44 new rotorcraft should enter into its second half shortly, ahead of a type selection and contract award.

“Positive progress is being made towards launching the next stage of the competition, and we are currently in the process of securing final cross-government approval,” Cartlidge said.

The NMH requirement is valued at approximatelyGBP1–1.2 billion (USD1.26–1.51 billion), with the Airbus H175M, the Leonardo AW149, and the Sikorsky S-70M Black Hawk in the running. While the NMH programme was also supposed to replace Bell 212, Bell 412, and Airbus Dauphin helicopters, the first two types will now be superseded by the Airbus H145, with a contract for six helicopters announced in November 2023. The Dauphins are expected to continue in service for the foreseeable future.

The procurement plan has been sat with the parliamentary assessment committee for some months, ahead of being signed off before the invitation to negotiate (ITN) phase that marks the second half of the competition. Cartlidge said in July 2023 that this ITN would be issued before the end of 2023, and industry insiders have said repeatedly over this timeframe that they expected it imminently.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...