UKMFTS Moves Forward

The first H-135T3 helicopter, seen here at Airbus Helicopter’s UK facility at Oxford Airport. (Airbus Helicopters)

The eighth of 29 Airbus Helicopters H-135T3 light utility helicopters for the rotary-wing training component of the UK Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) programme has arrived at Airbus Helicopters’ UK facility at Oxford Airport in central England.

A $1.4 billion amendment to the UKMFTS contract between the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) and UKMFTS service provider Ascent, will cover the design and deliver of a new rotary-wing training service. A contract has been placed with Airbus Helicopters deliver 29 H-135T3 training helicopters along with through life support. Contracts have also been awarded to Lockheed Martin and Babcock which will deliver ground based training equipment and infrastructure to support the rotary-wing training capability.

These new helicopters will replace the Defence Helicopter Flying School (DHFS) fleets of Eurocopter/Airbus Helicopters Squirrel-HT.1 and Griffin-HT.1 light utility helicopters. Training services are expected to commence from 2018 when pilots across the three Services (Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force) will conduct their basic and advanced rotary-wing training at Shawbury airbase in central England, and Middle Wallop airbase in southwest England. Pilots selected for training in mountain and maritime helicopter operations will receive instruction at Valley airbase in North Wales.

by David Oliver