Airbus Helicopters talks up its NMH bid

Airbus Helicopters UK is offering its H175M for the UK NMH requirement. (Airbus Helicopters)

DSEI 2023: Airbus Helicopters has already announced the members of its H175M Task Force including the UK-based industry team created to offer, supply and support the UK assembled H175M helicopter for the UK’s New Medium Helicopter (NMH) requirement. It includes aerospace companies Babcock International, Martin-Baker, Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) and Spirit AeroSystems.

At DSEI 2023, managing director of Airbus Helicopters in the UK, Lenny Brown told Armada why the H175M was the best helicopter for the future NMH. He said that the helicopter has a larger cabin than the AW149 or S-70M on offer, and it has a greater range than the competing platforms, without internal auxiliary fuel tanks. Building on its experience with offshore helicopter operations, the H175M would be equipped with an emergency floatation system that automatically activates before touching the water, and can ensure stability of the helicopter in up to Sea State 6.

For ease of maintenance, especially in the field, the helicopter will have hooks for engineers to reach the engine, gearbox and rotor head, and clam-shell door along the tailboom for access to the tail rotor and drive shaft.

In August, the UK MoD extended a contract with Airbus Helicopters UK for the support of the Puma HC.2 helicopter for a reported £320 million, the value of which Brown denied. The contract extension, lasting up to three years, ensures Airbus Helicopters’ exclusive rights to the Puma platform’s Design Organisation for technical drawings, data, design information, validation and certification issues of UK MoD-owned components for the Puma HC.2 platform. Brown said that this would avoid a capability gap between the drawdown of the Puma fleet and the delivery of the first NMHs. He also told Armada that the life of the Puma HC.2 could be extended well beyond 2026.

by David Oliver