The UK Ministry of Defense is progressing to the next stage of its new medium helicopter programme

British Defense Procurement Minister James Cartledge announced a few hours ago progress towards the next phase of the New Medium Helicopter (NMH) programme. During the International Military Helicopters Conference, held in London, Cartledge announced an invitation to negotiate for Airbus Helicopters UK, Leonardo Helicopters UK and Lockheed Martin UK.

With the latest announcement, interested companies are expected to formally summarize their technical and commercial proposals and submit them to the Ministry of Defense for evaluation and ultimately decide to award the procurement contract.

The NMH program is an initiative to acquire a new model of medium lift support helicopter, which is expected to meet up to five requirements of the UK Armed Forces using a single platform. This means that the helicopter selected must have the ability to perform missions previously performed by five different types of aircraft.

According to what was expressed by the British Ministry of DefenceThe new medium helicopter program must rationalize capabilities with the aim of improving them “…effectiveness and operational flexibility, which will positively impact the UK’s current and future operational capability…Once in service, it will provide the Armed Forces with a new medium transport aircraft capable of operating in all environments in support of a wide range of defense missions, from warfighting to Humanitarian efforts and operations around the world….

The NMH program aims to create a common platform for exchange To Bell 212AH1/AH3 and Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin II from the British Army Air Force and to Puma HC Mk2 from the Royal Air Force. Candidates are H175M Airbus Helicopters, a Leonardo AW149, and a Lockheed Martin Black Hawk S70i.

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The NMH program includes core industrial aspects covering design, production, manufacturing and export potential. “…This means that the new medium helicopter contract will ensure the vital operational independence we need, as well as investing in the UK’s capabilities for the long term, demonstrating the UK Government’s commitment to the Defense and Security Industrial Strategy…” He added the British defense portfolio.

The new medium helicopter program will be managed by Defense Equipment and Support (DE&S), including the evaluation of proposals, which will extend until 2025. By that date, the government is expected to give the green light to award the procurement contract.

Illustrative cover photo. Credits: Ministry of Defense – Crown Copyright

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