QinetiQ, February 07, 2014 - QinetiQ has been awarded a five year contract, worth £16 million, to provide test and evaluation services to the MOD in support of its Merlin Life Sustainment Programme (MLSP).
This contract will see the conversion of 25 Mk 3/3A Merlin helicopters, currently operated by the RAF, to be operated by the Royal Navy for maritime operations. QinetiQ will work closely with AgustaWestland, who will be undertaking the conversion work, to provide the MOD Merlin Project Team (PT) with independent technical and safety advice, as well as testing and support to the certification of the Interim and Full Operating Capability.
The contract will be delivered utilising the Long Term Partnership Agreement (LTPA), a 25 year, £5.6bn contract between the MOD and QinetiQ. The Merlin PT will benefit from the facilities and expertise, including military test pilots and flight test engineers available at MOD Boscombe Down under the terms of the LTPA. As part of the contract QinetiQ will provide recommendations for Release to Service to ensure that the aircraft can be operated safely in its broad operational environment, including operation from Royal Navy ships.
Gaz Borland, Managing Director for Air Division at QinetiQ said, “We are very pleased to have been awarded this contract which not only illustrates the value we can bring to MOD Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) as independent advisors but also ensures that the skills and expertise gained on the Merlin aircraft over the last 20 years are sustained. This enables us to continue to provide world-class expertise in test and evaluation and specialists who have deep knowledge of the aircraft and its capabilities.”
Capt Ed Tritschler RN, DE&S Merlin PT Leader, said, “MLSP introduces a range of new equipment and capabilities to the Merlin platform. QinetiQ’s involvement is key to us understanding the risks associated with its continued safe operation in a number of new operational environments. This contract continues our long term relationship with QinetiQ supporting our requirements for independent advice on the Merlin platform”.