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£100 million deal struck to support Royal Air Force fleet

09/01/18



The future of the Royal Air Force’s fleet of Puma HC Mk2 helicopters has been safeguarded thanks to a £100 million deal, covering until March 2022.

The helicopters were deployed during the relief process in the Caribbean, following the devastation left by hurricane Irma, and provide vital humanitarian aid to those in need.

Following the agreement of the deal – which is part of the Government’s £178 billion Equipment Plan –  around 25 jobs at both RAF Benson and Airbus Helicopters UK Ltd have been guaranteed.

According to Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin, the significant investment will ensure Puma helicopters are available to transport troops and kit onto the front line, while also sustaining British jobs at Airbus Helicopters.

Although support until March 2022 is now guaranteed, the contract is expected to run through until the Puma HC Mk2 helicopter out of service date, set for March 2025.

Under the contract, RAF maintenance engineers will receive a training service, while technical services will be provided to the material support, fault investigation and support safety management services who maintain the helicopters.

This support arrangement, which embraces learning from the early days of operating the Mk2 aircraft, will ensure that cost-effective support is always available to allow the user to deliver the capability wherever and whenever it is needed,” said Air Vice Marshal Graham Russell, Director Helicopters, for the MOD’s procurement organisation, Defence Equipment and Support.

The Puma HC Mk2 helicopters first took to the skies with an RAF crew in September 2013, after the Puma HC Mk1 reached its out of service date in December 2012.

Following the updates at the end of 2012, the Mk2 boasts two new powerful engines, and an additional internal fuel tank to increase both its range and endurance.

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