UK Ministry of Defence Launches New Medium Helicopter Tender

The UK Ministry of Defence has released a tender for up to 44 New Medium Helicopters (NMH) to replace its existing fleets of Airbus Puma HC2s (23), Bell 212s (5), Bell 412s (3), and Airbus Dauphin (2), operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Army Air Corps (AAC).

One platform will replace the four types currently in service. The value of the tender is expected to range between £900 million to £1.2 billion with the contract lasting for seven years. A support package will last for five years after the first aircraft is delivered.

The likely contenders are Leonardo with its AW149 (artist impression pictured), Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky S-70I, Bells 525 Relentless and Airbus H175M. There are other possibilities and variants although these would be ‘long odds’ options. Leonardo and Airbus would likely build the aircraft at their sites in Yeovil and Broughton respectively. Sikorsky’s S-70i is built at the company’s Polish subsidiary, PZL Mielec.