Eurocopter, September 29, 2009 - London/Oxford, Eurocopter UK Ltd. and the British Ministry of Defence signed a contract on September 18 for the Life Extension Programme for 28 of the Royal Air Force’s fleet of Puma Mk1 helicopters. The upgraded Pumas, which will be designated Puma HC Mk2, will consequently offer significantly enhanced performance and operational capabilities, thus being capable of remaining in service until at least 2022. The contract is valued at ₤220 million (€250 million) and is due to be completed by December 2014.
The programme is based on comprehensive upgrades, including new Turbomeca Makila 1A1 engines, a glass cockpit, new communications, navigation and defensive systems, and a digital autopilot. The Puma HC Mk2’s performance and payload will be substantially increased, particularly in hot and high conditions. As a key pillar of the Royal Air Force’s fleet of medium lift helicopters, Puma continues to play a major role in operational theatres, delivering very high operational readiness levels.
Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling commented, “This contract represents an important new phase in Eurocopter’s long lasting and maturing relationship with the UK Ministry of Defence. We will bring to this programme our extensive experience in upgrading and enhancing helicopters, and in adapting them to the new scenarios and challenges arising from present and future deployment.”
Markus Steinke, Managing Director of Eurocopter UK, added, “As the British pillar of the Eurocopter Group, we are proud to sign this major contract strengthening our industrial expansion in the UK even more and enabling us to develop a widening partnership with the MoD, also in view of forthcoming new helicopter programmes such as Future Medium Helicopter (FMH).”
Eurocopter UK Ltd. provides strong local presence in the United Kingdom
Through its fully-owned subsidiary, Eurocopter UK Ltd., headquartered in Oxford and with additional bases in Dublin (Ireland), Belfast (Northern Ireland), Hawarden (Wales) and Aberdeen (Scotland), Eurocopter has a strong industrial footprint in the UK and enjoys a reputation for innovation, high quality and a strong customer support ethos. Eurocopter UK was established in November 2007 through the purchase of McAlpine Helicopters Ltd., the company’s long-standing distributor in the UK. In the last 30 years, the company has achieved an exemplary performance in the customization, distribution and support of Eurocopter products for civil and public service customers. Eurocopter helicopters account for 75 per cent of the existing Police Air Support and Emergency Medical Service fleets in the UK and Ireland. In addition, Eurocopter UK has extended its activities into the Oil & Gas and MoD business. With over 450 helicopters in service in the British Isles, Eurocopter is the leading supplier of helicopters to the United Kingdom.
About Eurocopter: Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defence and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approx. 15,600 people. In 2008, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover of 4.5 billion Euros, orders for 715 new helicopters, and a 53 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Group’s products account for 30 percent of the total world helicopter fleet. Its strong worldwide presence is ensured by its 18 subsidiaries on five continents, along with a dense network of distributors, certified agents and maintenance centres. More than 10,000 Eurocopter helicopters are currently in service with over 2,800 customers in more than 140 countries. Eurocopter offers the largest civil and military helicopter range in the world.