Airbus Helicopters and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) have signed a Follow-on Support Arrangement contract to provide support to the Royal Air Force Puma 2 fleet over the planned service life of the aircraft. The contract, worth an initial £100 million, is the first of two pricing periods which will see Airbus Helicopters provide full technical support and logistics until March 2022. The contract has the facility to be extended until the currently planned out of service date March 2025, subject to the agreement of both parties.
As part of the company's support offering, Airbus Helicopters will provide repair and overhaul services in addition to a parts-by-the-hour programme, helping to ensure high availability with stable, value for money maintenance costs. The contract also includes the provision of training to all Puma avionics and mechanical technicians as well as engineering managers.
Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said, "This £100 million investment will ensure our Puma helicopters continue to transport British troops and kit to the front line – helping us provide vital support quickly in rapidly evolving situations. The deal - part of our £178 billion Equipment Plan - will not only give our Armed Forces the kit they need to deal with intensifying global threats, but will also sustain British jobs at Airbus Helicopters."
The contract, awarded under single-source regulations, follows on from the previous very successful Interim Support Arrangement, which has seen Airbus Helicopters support the aircraft since the first upgraded Puma 2 entered service in 2012, recently reaching 20,000 flight hours.
Ian Morris, Head of UK defence programmes at Airbus Helicopters, said, "This follow on contract re-affirms the confidence that the MoD has in the aircraft and in Airbus to continue to provide a cost effective and highly capable solution that will allow the Puma to continue to support our forces on operations, in very demanding conditions."
From the outset, Puma 2 has delivered the UK Armed Forces a significant capability which has been exploited during its very successful, and ongoing, deployment to Afghanistan under Operation TORAL. More recently, during the UK's disaster relief Operation RUMAN in the wake of Hurricane Irma, the Puma demonstrated another of its strengths as an ideal support helicopter capable of rapid deployment by C17, with minimal build up required on arrival prior to starting operations making it a clear choice for contingency operations world-wide.