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UK MoD seeks contractor-provided VIP helo

The MoD is looking to replace its single AW109SP VIP helicopter with a new type from 1 April 2023. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued a tender for a single contractor-provided helicopter for VIP duties out of Royal Air Force (RAF) Northolt in north London.

The Rotary Wing Command Support Air Transport (RWCSAT) capability tender issued on 17 March seeks to replace the current single Leonardo AW109SP GrandNew helicopter operated by 32 (The Royal) Squadron with a new type from 1 April 2023.

“The Defence Equipment and Support [DE&S] Special Projects Multi Air Platform [SPMAP] Delivery Team is considering a new procurement for the RWCSAT capability,” the tender said. “The procurement is for a five-year period, with a requirement for the contractor to deliver a twin-engine helicopter and support service to deliver one fit-for-purpose aircraft daily at RAF Northolt.”

As noted by the solicitation, the helicopter must be capable of carrying a minimum of three passengers up to 250 n miles in VFR (visual) and IFR (instrumented) conditions, both day and night, down to 500 ft. “This helicopter will be in support of very important person (VIP) tasking for defence activity,” the MoD said.

While the MoD intends that the helicopter be crewed by military pilots, it said that a civilian operation solution could be considered.

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