The New Medium Helicopter (NMH) programme is an initiative by the British military to acquire a modern medium-lift support helicopter, which will serve as a replacement for several existing aircraft currently in operation by the Royal Air Force and British Army.

It is anticipated that the new helicopter will be fully operational and integrated into service by the mid-2020s.

The Ministry of Defence had previously announced that four manufacturers had been selected to progress to the next phase of the New Medium Helicopter acquisition programme.

Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, recently asked:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress his Department has made on the New Medium Helicopter programme.”

Alex Chalk, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, responded:

“The New Medium Helicopter (NMH) competition’s Contract Notice and Dynamic Pre-Qualification Questionnaire were released on 18 May 2022. Responses have been evaluated to determine a shortlist of credible suppliers. They will be invited to participate in the second half of the competition, which is anticipated to be launched later this year. Suppliers were notified of the Dynamic Pre Qualification Questionnaire evaluation outcome on 31 October 2022.”

The manufacturers that have been selected are Airbus, Boeing, Leonardo, and Lockheed Martin. The manufacturers that were not selected include Bell and AceHawk Aerospace.

Options

  • Airbus Helicopters H175M: Airbus plans to offer a military version of their H175 helicopter, to be called the H175M. It would be made at Airbus’s Broughton facility in Wales.
  • Boeing MH-139 Grey Wolf: American company Boeing is offering their MH-139 Grey Wolf for the UK’s New Medium Helicopter (NMH) program. It won a US Air Force competition to replace the Bell UH-1N.
  • Leonardo AW149: Italian manufacturer Leonardo plans to offer the AW149 for the NMH program. It would be assembled at a new assembly line at their Yeovil facility in Somerset, England.
  • Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk: Sikorsky believes their latest generation of the S-70M Black Hawk would meet the requirements of the NMH program. They may also work with a partner to assemble the aircraft in their factory in Poland. The Black Hawk is a combat-proven helicopter that has been in service since 1979 and is used by 29 countries worldwide.
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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Ian Skinner
Ian Skinner (@guest_694638)
1 year ago

I would not consider any alternative that does not involve some manufacture in the UK.

Mark Franks
Mark Franks (@guest_694688)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Skinner

With attitudes like that is almost always why the UK ends up with equipment the military did not ask for. The biggest problem will always be the lack of a home grown industrial base, which has been eroded to nothing.

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_694703)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Franks

Except we do have facilities for manufacturing Medium lift helicopters in the UK. So I have to agree with Ian on this one.
If we don’t have the industry, like for firearms (when SA80 is up for replacement), then let’s consider foreign-manufactured items. But where we have existing capabilities, we shouldn’t be looking elsewhere except as a benchmark.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins (@guest_694864)
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe16

👍Agreed Joe16, Poland will see some of the workshare so why not us?

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_694945)
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Yeah, those are the Polish AW149 that look like they will have Brimstone.

Edi
Edi (@guest_699154)
1 year ago
Reply to  AlexS

They have Spike LR2

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_694879)
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe16

I agree though I would hope that we would negotiate for UK production of any firearm we agree to buy as well. After all it’s the most basic required weapon for your army and it would be disastrous in a long conflict to run short of such weapons or be told due to IP they can’t be used without permission. Many foreign designed weapons have been built here and indeed had they not been Britain would not have been able to fight in the 2nd WW because those Countries that designed them were occupied or in the case of Sweden… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Spyinthesky
Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_695096)
1 year ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

You make a good point- the Bren immediately springs to mind, although Bofors, Oerlinkon (?) and others I think were produced here too. But, unlike the 40s, and even in the 90s, we now have no established small arms manufacturing here in the UK. Could the required skilled workforce (it’s hard enough finding decent machine shops as it is) be trained, and would there be enough work to sustain a factory large enough to produce all of our small arms after manufacture? I don’t know the answer to that, but I have a small doubt at least. I’d very much… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_695011)
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe16

Agree rebuilding a sovereign capability is one think, knowingly destroying one of your own industrial bases, because of a few points in a procurement exercise is just bonkers. Yes there should be a procurement but the following should be included: 1) the total tax base created from the procurement should be removed from the cost..it a black hawk costs 20million and creates no tax base but a AW149 costs 22million but creates 4 million in tax base the AW149 should be judged as only costing the tax payer 18 million…the NOD should then get a budget rebate for the difference… Read more »

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_727813)
11 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

I have a foreign car and I think if something else that would be good enough for the U.k I’d have no issues with shopping there especially if it at the right price.its sad Britains industrial base has been allowed to whither away through poor fiscal policies of every government since 1970 we complain about the size of the nations forces but maybe&250 million put into a manufacturing capacity might be a good idea.

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_728065)
11 months ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

I’ve got no isue with procuring items abroad that we can’t build here, however we do have helicopter manufacturing- so not uing it would be a mistake in my opinion. There’s also the option to encourage foreign companies that make what we want to set up shop here, although the expense of setting up new production lines could be very prohibitive…

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_727815)
11 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

Why do things lik choppers and tanks take so long to manufacture? It’s not like they’re building the Titanic.

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_728070)
11 months ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

Haha, no, although I’d say that in some ways they’re harder to manufacture in terms of engineering requirements of tolerances etc. The Titanic was a beast, but relatively simple (if you have the correct industrial base and experience)- riveted steel/iron plates onto a frame, etc. No exotic materials or components. These days, machines have processors and electronics everywhere, composite sections, gas turbine engines, all of which have to be very thoroughly tested to meet modern requirements.

Jim
Jim (@guest_694775)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Franks

Which country is any different?

Mark Franks
Mark Franks (@guest_694785)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

A contract goes out to tender. The promise from one manufacturer is the number of jobs the contract would produce in the UK. The priority for the military is getting the right equipment at the right time and on budget. Almost always the preferred bidder. The company that can provide the jobs, but the and the services end up with the equipment that didn’t meet specification.

Ex-Marine
Ex-Marine (@guest_694816)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Franks

“which has been eroded to nothing”, which is the point. By not insisting other projects had a UK build, our own, once world-leading industries have been allowed to be “eroded to nothing”. Just like any other nation that has the capacity and ability, it’s always better to do it here. No one knows the future, certainly not me. Otherwise I would be penning this from the British Virgin Islands. Therefore, the UK must be insistent that only in the most extreme in circumstances should we not have “Made in UK”. Look at Ukraine, it was the retention of a tank… Read more »

Mark Franks
Mark Franks (@guest_694820)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ex-Marine

The uk has allowed its defence industrial base to erode over the last 30 years. Its as simple as that.

FOSTERSMAN
FOSTERSMAN (@guest_694857)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Franks

And now we struggle to produce any armoured vehicles in any relevant numbers, I don’t understand it.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_727818)
11 months ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

Fifty years of governmental incompetence.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_727819)
11 months ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

If you own a small second hand ca why not a helicopter? The U.S has the awesome facility ATAMARC IN ARIZONA wher ther are over three thousand retired flying machines hundreds of Seahawks,sea stallions e.tc the U.K should have a first chance to buy option on any American forces equipment.plus it’s already built stuff.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_727823)
11 months ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

Look at the car industry, we’ve got some of the biggest coal seams in the world, and we import it from Poland and elsewhere the world went mad, and nobody noticed.

FOSTERSMAN
FOSTERSMAN (@guest_694856)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ex-Marine

I get there are some things we just cannot make over here I get things should be home grown, but surely a strategic industry which we are trying to promote should by default be the preferred bidder.

David Flandry
David Flandry (@guest_695786)
1 year ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

I do not buy this we just cannot make it here argument. This has led to other nations being in and the UK out.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_727821)
11 months ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

If you can have a national shipbuilding strategy, we can should have one for everything in the defense industry.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_694884)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ex-Marine

Spot on it’s not rocket science if we had to buy Spitfires from a foreign manufacturer it’s doubtful we would have got them by 1950. Indeed a lot of aircraft we got from the US early on were meant to go to France… which unfortunately was under occupation before they were delivered. Poland is going South Korean because they can’t get early delivery of Western alternatives even those already ordered and some weapons going to Ukraine are being diverted from their original customers. So surely this should teach us something.

BigH1979
BigH1979 (@guest_694970)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ex-Marine

But ‘Made in UK’ isnt cost effective when the cost of setting up the means of manufacture are added to the price is it? The UK is my country but we as a workforce demand high wages and high living standards. Our manufacturing sector has eroded because we can’t compete. The question is Do you want to have the right equipment at the right price (so that you can have it in abundance). Or do you want to pay the same figures for a much reduced bespoke batch of equipment + setup costs that will never sell abroad because it… Read more »

Jon
Jon (@guest_695069)
1 year ago
Reply to  BigH1979

I disagree that we are that much less competitive. Any country capable of building complex warfighting hardware will pay its people at least as much as we do. Some of what we produce will sell abroad and some not. Now, when the world is in a rearming phase, is exactly the time to take a punt. Especially in new areas in quantity. We should be supporting the UK build of drones — although we aren’t; why didn’t the Army go with Evolve or Malloy instead of Lockheed and Elbit? — naval guns, probably not. I still haven’t figured out what… Read more »

Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_695093)
1 year ago
Reply to  BigH1979

Every major purchase needs to be looked at – If you want a lot or they are high value, consider setting up manufacture/design in the UK. If it can be bought/made in the UK at a reasonable price, buy UK. If is available ‘off the shelf’ elsewhere at a reasonable price but would cost too much to design/produce in the UK -buy abroad. Basically, you have to make sensible economic/social/military decisions.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_727817)
11 months ago
Reply to  Ex-Marine

Swe have a only built warships in the U.K policy, that could with the real commitment apply to just about anything in defense procurement and design.

FOSTERSMAN
FOSTERSMAN (@guest_694853)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Franks

But the military should be subject to public scrutiny with its tenders, surely it’s easier for MPs to pass motions that create jobs in there constituencies? Good for jobs and the military, hasn’t COVID and Brexit shown what happens in the long run if you ship everything out and buy the cheapest option.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_694877)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Franks

Hang on virtually every country now is insisting on some or all foreign buys to be substantially built and/or have substantial local content with their major programmes certainly where they have any bargaining powers. India, Australia, Poland, Turkey, Japan, even some Middle East Countries are headed in that direction now including Saudi Arabia. Indeed many and increasingly so, insist on technology transfer so as to be eligible for offering contracts. To do otherwise is effectively writing off your future ability to have an independent military industrial base. Few of those by necessity end up with inferior products as a result… Read more »

John Moran
John Moran (@guest_694984)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Franks

And the problem of a lack of homegrown industrial base is caused by a failure to Invest in one. The attitude is a circular one

Charlie Harris
Charlie Harris (@guest_695195)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Franks

Rubbish. Leonardo at Yeovil has everything in place to start production immediately if given the green light. The workforce is extremely capable, highly skilled and dedicated to provide the UK armed forces with the right helicopter for the job.

Mark franks
Mark franks (@guest_695253)
1 year ago
Reply to  Charlie Harris

If??

Charlie Harris
Charlie Harris (@guest_695265)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark franks

The contract has not been awarded yet. There are 4 companies in the running.

Edi
Edi (@guest_699155)
1 year ago
Reply to  Charlie Harris

Airbus and Leonardo bids are well over budget, while Boeing and Sikorsky do not include UK production

FOSTERSMAN
FOSTERSMAN (@guest_694852)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Skinner

100% agree with that. Actually now we are out of the EU we should pass laws and do what the US has done for years, automatically disqualify any bidder who doesn’t manufacture on shore.

Jon
Jon (@guest_695071)
1 year ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

You can do that if you don’t delay for so long everything becomes critical. We knew about the FSSS requirement a decade before the contract was actually awarded, plenty of time to get all our ducks in a row, but Navantia became the right solution because we needed the foreign manufacture of significant amounts of the first ship to ensure we could maintain sovereign carrier capability.

Will legislation that stops us buying Turkish ferries mean Scotland might want to leave the UK?

FOSTERSMAN
FOSTERSMAN (@guest_695117)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon

The thing with the Scots gov is (my personal opinion) it almost seems they’d rather send contracts abroad at a detriment to the shipbuilders so in the long run jobs are cut, companies wind up just so they can blame it on the government down south. They are playing the long game in the end as it help with votes later on. This is why we need legislation that could actually be a benefit to the shipbuilders communities in the long run, creating jobs and good wages into the future. With the recent and current situations what if foreign powers… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by FOSTERSMAN
Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_695175)
1 year ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

It would help if English shipbuilders would actually bid for the ferry work. Can’t win if they aren’t in the game.

geoff
geoff (@guest_694972)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Skinner

Agree and it would be nice if Sir Jim Ratcliffe would acquire a stake in either Leonardo or Airbus instead of wasting his money on Manchester United. The UK needs to re-establish control over some key assets and this has to involve a financial commitment for many good reasons.The UK is unique among the world’s leading nations in having foreigners controlling most of it’s major manufacturers.
Shoot me down!😬

Paul.P
Paul.P (@guest_694991)
1 year ago
Reply to  geoff

And get rid of all these foreign managers! 😊

geoff
geoff (@guest_695039)
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul.P

😂 Not xenophobic Paul but with no shareholding you have no real say. Leonardo and Airbus could pull out of the UK anytime they wanted to. If we had a financial stake, even a minority one then this would be far less likely particularly since we left the EU which has made EU controlled businesses more difficult to operate both logistically and financially in the UK

Paul.P
Paul.P (@guest_695055)
1 year ago
Reply to  geoff

The important question is, if Alex Ferguson was starting his Man Utd career today, would he require a work visa? 😂
Seriously though, from the perspective of EU companies operating in UK I can understand that after 40 years membership Brexit was a betrayal of trust. The British Volt news illustrates the problem; going it alone with EV is easier said than done. Its more likely now that we will be importing our electric car batteries from the EU, assuming we are still making cars in the UK.
https://www.pveurope.eu/energy-storage/green-economy-battery-manufacturing-coming-europe

geoff
geoff (@guest_695057)
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul.P

He would probably have opted for English Citizenship along with many other Scots domiciled in England 😁 assuming that sad new nationality ever comes into being in which case, I, a proud Briton would become stateless!
My view on Brexit was as a fence sitter

Klonkie
Klonkie (@guest_695203)
1 year ago
Reply to  geoff

ha ha-🙄 I sense a career in politics for you Sir!

geoff
geoff (@guest_695266)
1 year ago
Reply to  Klonkie

😉

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_727803)
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian Skinner

Something like this should be all brush design and production.its a big deal for all the services and the decisions around it must be the right ones

John Hartley
John Hartley (@guest_694648)
1 year ago

With the V280 Valor on the horizon, it might be better to just order 24 AW 149 from Leo/Westlands to replace the Puma. Then give Yeovil work on prototypes. A stretched foot longer cabin Wildcat with dipping sonar for the RN. An increment 2, 3000 hp engine (T901?) advanced Merlin.

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_694705)
1 year ago
Reply to  John Hartley

To my knowledge Leonardo are the only non-US outfit with facilities in the UK that are playing around with tilt rotors- with the AW-609. If we build up Yeovil with a decent sized AW149 order- especially if we can bag some international orders too, then we have an opportunity that a military tiltrotor could be built there next. I can’t see any other way that might happen. That’s the only counterpoint I have for your very reasonable suggestion. I’m OK with waiting a bit longer for getting tiltrotors into service, say 15-20 years, when the rest of NATO catches up… Read more »

FOSTERSMAN
FOSTERSMAN (@guest_694858)
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe16

Tilt rotors are still novel so it’s probably best to wait a little bit more before the big push.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_694890)
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe16

Equally Leonardo are quite heavily involved with the forces in testing Helicopter based drones again it would be sad to lose an ability to manufacture such vehicles or even contribute potentially, just as they become an important future platform to exploit.

Edi
Edi (@guest_699156)
1 year ago
Reply to  John Hartley

AW149 are well over budget

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694662)
1 year ago

Ohh you tease George, Blackhawk pic!

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_694946)
1 year ago

Haha he knows u like a Blackhawk. It’s a nice pic.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins (@guest_695169)
1 year ago

Hope this cheers you up at some point this year! “The Australian government has confirmed that it is proceeding with the acquisition of 40 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for the Australian Army. The announcement, on 18 January, comes four months after the US Department of State approved the sale of the 40 helicopters and related equipment under Foreign Military Sales (FMS). The estimated cost of the deal in September 2022 was AUD2.79 billion (USD1.95 billion). The acquisition of the aircraft will allow the Australian Army to divest its Airbus MRH-90 Taipan helicopter fleet. The Australian Army currently faces a… Read more »

Klonkie
Klonkie (@guest_695202)
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

good post Nigel, seriously hope the MOD take note!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_695306)
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

What is that 1.95 Billion USD in our pounds?

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins (@guest_695307)
1 year ago

Exchange Rate:£1.23 as of today

Last edited 1 year ago by Nigel Collins
Klonkie
Klonkie (@guest_695200)
1 year ago

Good one DM. On a lighter note, might you guys fancy some slightly used Aussie Army NH 90s? One owner, low mileage, barks like a dog, answers to the name “defunct”. 😀

Seriously though, it is interesting they are replacing them with a new tranche of Blackhawks – tells us something right?

MOD please pay attention.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_695304)
1 year ago
Reply to  Klonkie

👍 Hi ya Chris.

Sean
Sean (@guest_694664)
1 year ago

Presumably Bell eliminated as they are committed to tiltrotor going forward rather than helicopters. The V280 Valor is the obvious candidate having won in the US competition but it’s unlikely to be ready in time for UKs required in service date.

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor (@guest_694711)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

No brainer to wait for the V280 as once adopted into US service will be the cheapest option and also potentially for the carriers.

BB85
BB85 (@guest_694714)
1 year ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

The V280 will be multiple times more expensive than the AW149 or H175. I’m not sure how much of a game changer they will actually be, as they will still be vulnerable to manpads, especially at the point they deploy troops on the ground and operate at low level. In fact they will be significantly slower and less manoeuvrable due to their design. I’d rather see how the US gets on for a decade with them before committing ourselves. The osprey for example does a lot of ferry work to and from carriers, but when was it ever used in… Read more »

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor (@guest_695160)
1 year ago
Reply to  BB85

This sort of knee jerk comment is disappointing; 1) multiple times more expensive, do you have any evidence for this? They have stated that the design is engineered around a $30m price point and wide adoption would reduce this. 2) vulnerabilities to “man pads” if you name me an aircraft that is not vulnerable to manpads when landing or taking off then your intellect obviously exceeds Einsteins. 3) significantly slower and less manoeuvrable, any proof of this? 4) the V22 was designed as a medium heavy lift vehicle and that’s what it does, the V280 was not designed for heavy… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_694843)
1 year ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

There is not folding option for V280 as of today. So no carrier and even less a frigate.

Also it is obviously several fold more expensive.

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_694895)
1 year ago
Reply to  AlexS

Bell showed a model of a folding marinised version at Farnborough last year. It’s primarily aimed at the USMC, who will be looking to replace the UH1Y Venoms. This modernized Huey does not meet their future requirements, as it’s too slow and doesn’t have the range. Especially when it’s needed to conduct a coordinated landing with Ospreys. The model Bell showed had a similar prop-blade fold and wing twisted over the cabin roof as per the Osprey. The tail stabilizers were shown angled down instead of up like the Army’s Valor. Which I suppose helps with putting in to the… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_694943)
1 year ago
Reply to  DaveyB

USMC would undoubtedly be willing to play an advocacy role for RN/RM in any purchasing effort. Jarheads are loyal, possibly to a fault; Semper Fi!

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_694947)
1 year ago
Reply to  DaveyB

They showed it but from designs i have seen they don’t count with current rotor pointy ends at time. Those pointy ends need to taken out to fit.

Obviously having folding wing system will reduce the cargo significantly due to extra weight since the whole thing is massive.

Agreed about impossibility of Sikorski due to its height.

I continue to see helicopter to be for several decades the cheaper and more reliable system.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_694892)
1 year ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

…and hopefully US industry has learned from its mistakes along the way, Leonardo’s struggle with tilt rotors is a salutary lesson it’s not easy to master.

DanielMorgan
DanielMorgan (@guest_694713)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

The V280 Valor award is under formal protest by LM/ Boeing. There is a 45% success rate with GAO protests. There wouldn’t be a protest by LM/Boeing unless they believed there was a substantial chance of success.

Sean
Sean (@guest_694721)
1 year ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

I think it’s a Hail Mary punt by Boeing simply due to the potential value of both the contract and subsequent sakes to other nations. The Valor is technically so far ahead of the Defiant that its win is a no-brainier.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_694898)
1 year ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

Boeing contest almost anything important they lose, they are used to winning with their massive political influence and sense of entitlement and of course they have another prospective similar potential contract coming up with a not dissimilar design that they want to exert any influence they can to make sure they win. A bit like Vickers in the thirties.

Czartank
Czartank (@guest_728319)
11 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

I hope the DOD have learnt from the KC-46 fiasco and tell Boeing where to go.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_694823)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Wouldn’t it be a relatively intelligent proposition to ‘adjust’ therequired in-service date to match V-280 availability? Clearly the tech of the future 🤔😳

Sean
Sean (@guest_694824)
1 year ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Depends how clapped-out the existing helicopters are, it may not be possible to stretch their service out to a later date. Certainly the V-280 is the future, perhaps order the V-280 but with a discount for investing so early in the platform, and lease something short-term until they’re ready? 🤷🏻‍♂️

Last edited 1 year ago by Sean
FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_694826)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

😂😁, Bonus points awarded for creativity of answer! Hmm…a discount for early adopters… we should contact Bell/RR to determine receptiveness to proposal…🤔😳😂😁

Joseph Todd
Joseph Todd (@guest_694840)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Properly decrepit and so old the aircrews first flying the puma have reached state pension age

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_694907)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Ok, you didn’t hear this from me. But the Pumas are well past their sell by date. The ally used to make the frames does not like humid climates and corrodes quite badly. A Puma coming back from Belize, needed a complete underfloor frame replacement under the cockpit floor. Worse still is the thrust deck and torque plate. The thrust plate sits between the main gearbox and cabin roof. It takes the reactive torque loads and spreads it more evenly across the cabin roof’s thrust deck. When Puma 1 was being looked at modifying to Puma 2. The aircraft were… Read more »

Sean
Sean (@guest_694928)
1 year ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Yeah aluminium may not rust, but it still corrodes, especially in humid conditions.

Everything there that you obviously didn’t say, but someone else did, sounds completely plausible. Which suggests there is a rather urgent requirement to replace them asap rather than waiting for the Valor to reach production.

I wonder what the second-hand Blackhawk market is like? 🤔😉

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_694939)
1 year ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Never thought of anything remotely in this vein before, w/ the exception of RAF’s original C-17 contract, but necessity induces innovation: MoD could conceivably initiate a leasing arrangement, either through DoD/US Army or the prime, for a limited number of Blackhawks, for a limited timeframe, w/ a limitation on flight hours. May not be permitted to use in an active theater w/ out posting a surety bond or having a Lloyd’s of London insurance policy in effect but I’m reasonably certain that if there is a profit margin available, somewhere, someone would be willing to accommodate UK requirements. Presumably MoD… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_694950)
1 year ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Those pumas should of been dumped for Blackhawks instead of refit ages ago. Or some other suitable helicopter.
Westland had rights to produce a black Hawk version 30+ years ago. Missed opportunity but for this program I think the 149 has it. It’s a good enough aircraft

Klonkie
Klonkie (@guest_695209)
1 year ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Hi Monkey Spanker, how are tricks? You are probably aware the RAF has about half a dozen ex SAAF H/L Puma models in service .

Personally, I think the RAF missed a trick in not buying the entire tranche (think about 26 units left) at basement bargain prices in the early 90/s.

These machines had only circa 15 years service on each. Although hard worked, I can tell you they were very well maintained.

They were retired early, surplus to requirement with the end of the cold war and RSA’s transition to a democracy.

Klonkie
Klonkie (@guest_695211)
1 year ago
Reply to  Klonkie

sorry- circa 13 years service on each.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_694915)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Let’s put it this way I remember my girl friend’s father when we were at Uni, he worked on the Lynx for Marconi when the Anglo French agreement on the Lynx, Puma and Gazelle was signed. He flew in Lancs in the war and is long dead and I am retired so it literally is a lifetime lol.

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_694835)
1 year ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Unfortunately the Puma that they are replacing (small number of others too), has already been extended once before – 2008 I think. OSD for them is 2024/5 I believe, so not really much scope to further extend without a serious and expensive rebuild.We missed a trick back when we refurbished and extended the Pumas back in 2008ish, should have gone for new Blackhawks instead, which meant we would have been better placed to go straight into the V-280 programme. Still, tears,spilt milk and all that.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_694868)
1 year ago
Reply to  Deep32

Understand, difficult situation.

Farouk
Farouk (@guest_694971)
1 year ago
Reply to  Deep32

To be fair, we didn’t refurbish the Pumas, Romania was given the job.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_694901)
1 year ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

It would if possible but there would be a near decade gap I suspect esp if Valor has delays which let’s be honest is likely, while foreign sales would be another problematical delay no doubt. There has to be some form of filler I’m afraid.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_694948)
1 year ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Programmatic delay certainly possible, but clearance for foreign sales to UK is a foregone conclusion. US iron triangle would be in lockstep. Every intelligent pol, of every stripe, in the US is counting the number of noses of reliable partners, for the inevitable dust-up forthcoming in SCS. 🤔😳

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_695159)
1 year ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Mad Vlad, in spite of his worst intentions, actually did the West a huge favor, by being so impatient to invade UKR. Much easier to deal w/ despots in a serial v. simultaneous manner.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_694911)
1 year ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

They are, though been reading up about HSVTOL designs particularly by Jetoptera with internally blown lift surfaces, a sort of flying Dyson fan principle, which potentially have capability up to Mach 0.8. Very early days mind, but if they scale up and prove their potential they may eventually give tilt rotors a run for their money or supersede them eventually perhaps. A damn site quieter and lends itself to electric propulsion too of course. Early days though.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_694949)
1 year ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Link available for R & D, trial data?

Jon
Jon (@guest_695181)
1 year ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Yes if we could delay by a handful of years, but the reality is that by hurrying we can squeeze an entire generation in more easily than through delay. Tiltrotors in 2040, not now.

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_694702)
1 year ago

I’ve made no secret of it previously, and I’ve not seen anything to change my mind: AW149. A purpose-built military platform (unlike the Airbus), of the right size, built in the UK with a commitment from Leonardo to source future exports from Yeovil too. That is a long-term opportunity, and one to re-grow our rotary wing capability back towards being able to design again (maybe). Gey Wolf is a bit of a wild card, but not a UK build as far as I’m aware, so no; Blackhawk is at the end rather than beginning of its development and would be… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694709)
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe16

I’ve had this convo with J before. So I put this to you, IF we go AW149, appreciating the UK PLC benefits, and assuming it costs more than a Blackhawk purchase OTS, and we get say just 22, for example, rather the 44 required to cover replacement of all types. Home built costs more up front, wages, and So on. The military are thus short yet again, and units cut as numbers reduce. Would you be satisfied? It’s why I’d be happy with BH by the way! I prioritise what I believe the military want in the numbers needed, not… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_694725)
1 year ago

HI Daniele, Just one small point on the numbers, MoD/Treasury are quite capable of cutting numbers regardless of which design is bought. A UK built platform provides increased Tax to the Treasury and there are (I believe) moves to reflect this in the cost calculations. I recorgnise that the Boeing offering is based on the Leonardo AW139 and propsed to be built at Broughton – so would meet the circular Tax arguement. As such, I would be happy with the Boeing offering although would prefer the Leonardo option given the promise to build export orders at Yeovil. If the Tax… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694737)
1 year ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Agree. And sadly Ben Wallace will be gone in a few years I suspect, replaced by a member of Amnesty International at that! Was not aware of the stories/reports that tax receipts might be reflected in the calculations and thus MoD budget. I’ll believe it when i see it. To be fair, I’m also influenced by the previous 1 billion plus purchase of Wildcat which kept workers at Westlands happy but left the army with 34 cabs replacing 100 plus Lynx, and a heli virtually unarmed and which can carry a handful of personnel, when there was a reportedly 300… Read more »

simon alexander
simon alexander (@guest_694743)
1 year ago

DM good points, maybe let the army lower ranks choose

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694749)
1 year ago

And let all the vested interests of local MPs, and ex brass now on or about to be on the boards of MIC companies be ignored!!! Perish the thought!
👍

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_694759)
1 year ago

I am aware of a procurement that went badly wrong because a particular unit was allowed to pick and choose what it wanted. Turned out the piece of kit they were buying (and modifying extensively) was way too heavy for the application. We had to send someone up to tell said unit that they would be disappointed about the kit and wondered if we would ever see him again. 😄 I’m afraid end users don’t always know what is right for them particularly if the overall capability is provided by a number of different platforms, each with very different operational… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694760)
1 year ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Hi mate.

Love hearing these stories from yourself re DRA. I can guess who was involved, pity you cannot tell the whole story.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_694767)
1 year ago

I could, but the nights are dark… 😬

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694773)
1 year ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

!!😃 Understood mate!

Jon
Jon (@guest_694800)
1 year ago

Navy Wildcats already have Seaspray 7400E radar. The Army have been trialling a radar and the mock-up at DSEI 2021 suggested it was the Seaspray 7500E/2. As we read last week, both services are working on getting a Link16/Bowman TDL so Wildcat ISR info can actually be used without someone having to radio it in.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694809)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon

It’s progress. It’s the costs vs how many we got while the bulk of the AAC vanished that I had in mind.

I appreciate the Gazelle capability has been superseded by other sensors and we got Watchkeeper ( if it works ) and Apache too.

I was amazed when we read that, that a TDL was not already standard.

Jon
Jon (@guest_695076)
1 year ago

Yes. Not cheap. People also talk glibly about Wildcat dipping sonar, but if they looked at the piccies of the Korean version which has it, there’s not enough room left in there for swinging a small domestic cat nevermind a wild one. We have a reasonable reconnaissance, ISR and attack helicopter in Wildcat and they want to squeeze ASW in as well. I hope we get it properly up to speed in what it’s already supposed to do, instead of overloading other roles. TBH, I want the Navy to get them all and the Army to get sixty-plus AW149s. Fifteen… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_695294)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon

Wouldn’t the politics come into play regards AAC use of AW149 concerning the oft reported RAF operating a certain size upwards?
Maybe they’ll disband the RAF SHF one day and put all operational helicopters that support the army into a modern day RFC.
And yes, I’m aware that we have JHC already.

60 plus!! I’ll be amazed if we get 25. The requirement is for “up to 44”

So who gets cut next?

Klonkie
Klonkie (@guest_695201)
1 year ago

too true DM – more AH 64 please.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_694953)
1 year ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Hopefully, someone will build a monument to Big Ben, in due course. 😁

Jon
Jon (@guest_695083)
1 year ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

If Starmer employs him as Defsec in a year or two, I’d chip in myself.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_695142)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon

👍😊

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_694784)
1 year ago

The question really is are cabs, as we know them, nearing an end game?

If they are at end game then really it is about getting what UK needs as cheaply as possible.

Where the conversation will gets thorny is over potentially sustaining Leonardo to do tilt rotor development and production in the UK?

But is that a punt that skews the decision?

Much as all helicopter decisions have been skewed for decades?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694790)
1 year ago

As always SB, you look at the wider, deeper picture than me. 👍
That is all beyond my level.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_694797)
1 year ago

Hi SB, A sustainable industrial strategy partnering between investors, industry and the state, kinda like what was put in place for the Megafactory to produce batteries – Oh wait, they’ve just gone into administration and sacked all 300 staff… Even National Ship Building Strategy might get trashed if there isn’t a B2 T31 or T32 frigate order… A short term crisis and it all goes out the window. Treasury and Chancellors don’t seem to be able to see past the end of their annual budget spreadsheets. Unless something changes, in the words of that great philosopher Private Fraser, “We’re doomed,… Read more »

Sean
Sean (@guest_694933)
1 year ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Thankfully HMG didn’t stump up the promised £100m grant to British Volt. It was a complete cart before horse scenario, speculatively beginning to build the factory before they’d actually finished design of the battery and secured contracts for car manufacturers to use them 🤷🏻‍♂️

Jon
Jon (@guest_695078)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Sometimes you have to take a punt. It doesn’t always work.

Jon
Jon (@guest_695080)
1 year ago

Endgame is overstating it. People still make bows and arrows.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_695084)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon

I’d be surprised if many militaries were using bows and arrows aside from niche SF uses.

Jon
Jon (@guest_695085)
1 year ago

Yet every decade we still hear about a British bayonet charge. Perhaps the writing is on the wall, but it will take a long time, not in this century, before helicopters hit endgame.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jon
Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_695086)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon

I’m not so sure.

Chinook will carry on as it is a unique capability. SF will need small helicopters for insertion.

In the field surveillance will go to drone as will tactical weapons delivery.

For medium lift, and say carrier uses, tilt rotor makes much more sense.

Jon
Jon (@guest_695095)
1 year ago

Leonardo are wasting their time with their 3 ton (MTOW) Proteus offering? There are a lot more escorts, RFA and OPV platforms than big beasts which can take a tiltrotor. I think we will have to agree to disagree.

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_694794)
1 year ago

Hi Daniele, happy new year! Always good to debate with you. I take your point- it is well made. I don’t know how hard-worked the Puma fleet is, but whatever is ordered should definitely not dip below the active fleet and should be 44+. I would not be satisfied with a 50% reduction in the fleet. At least with the MOD their hearts are in the right place, whereas I have doubts about Putin having one at all… More recent UK acquisitions seem to have taken into account the financial benefits of UK build (for naval vessels at least), but… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694811)
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe16

Hi mate. Likewise.

I’m off to play snooker now, and rushed through your post, but will have a good read of this later and give it the reply it deserves even if I have little more to add to what we’ve covered.

Respect as always.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694885)
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe16

Hi Joe. Snooker was cancelled! I’ve little else to add really to the topic beyond that I agree with your hope that economic benefits are included in whatever they end up buying. Why can the Blackhawk not be built in the UK? There must be some deal that can be done with Poland. I agree with you and CR on HM Treasury, there never seems to be any long term plan or recompense for the MoD budget as an incentive to only look at home built options where ever possible. I think the Leonardo AW149 is a shoe in myself,… Read more »

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_695019)
1 year ago

Ah, rubbish, hope you found something else to do with your evening. Yeah, I wasn’t expecting anything wildly outlandish or unreasonable from yourself- we’ve talked over this and other subjects too many times for that! Good question about a UK Blackhawk build. My assumption was that the order would be too small to justify, and the POlish plant may have some kind of carve out deal for future BH sales within Europe. But I realise that assumption is based upon little to no hard fact. One day, I’d love to see a UK government that shakes things up for the… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_695087)
1 year ago

For gods sake, you know that HM Coast Guard have
AW 189 – the civilian version of AW 149 ?

If HM Coast Guard can have them,
what makes it impossible for
Armed Forces to have them?
It is even a data point about its use.

Or the HM budget is millionaire?

OffshoreHeli
OffshoreHeli (@guest_714112)
1 year ago
Reply to  AlexS

The AW189 for the coastguard is not flying 16 troops. I have worked with the AW189 in offshore Crewchange capability so basic utility set up not very heavy and it struggles to fly 16 passengers. Its class 1 departure also involves transiting along the ground on its wheels until translational lift. Doesn’t sound like a theatre helicopter to me..

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_694847)
1 year ago

You can build the AW 149 in Poland or Italy if you are so against building in UK… The Polish AW149 will be build there.

Btw the MH139 Grey Wolf is the Leonardo AW139 just fit for USAF

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694875)
1 year ago
Reply to  AlexS

I’m not against building anything in the UK, I’m for it, so posters don’t get me wrong. What concerns is that that usually means greater reductions in numbers of kit that is ordered in small amounts anyway, making things worse. And HMT as Joe and CR have mentioned should take that into account regards the MoD budget.

If there was cross agreement and a long term view between HMG then of course by home built and assembled.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_695082)
1 year ago

The big problem Daniele is how we do MOD finances, what should happen is if the MOD pays a bit more for a UK product that will have tax base benefits in the UK they should get a rebate back into the MOD budget for the increased cost for investment in UK industry and tax base. Its a structural problem with how we do government finance, it’s al siloed and there is no strategic and geopolitical networking of planning and funding. it’s the same issue with the NHS and social care..every £1 saved on social care costs us a good… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_695283)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Morning J. Apologies for late reply, was out.

I agree. What ever are the chances of this happening? And at the same time Successor and pensions being removed from core back to where they should be.

Till then, remorseless decline in numbers.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_695453)
1 year ago

Well if I thought a bit of sense would hit I would say it could all happen anytime…in the real world,probably on the 12th of never.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_695088)
1 year ago

But the HM Coast Guard have budget using AW 189 –
the civilian version of AW 149?

Klonkie
Klonkie (@guest_694924)
1 year ago

“The solution is a full AW149 buy of 44, then I’m happy.” ditto agreed.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_694955)
1 year ago
Reply to  Klonkie

If more Blackhawks were guaranteed and I mean guaranteed for allotted budget then that’s a great deal. I don’t see why Blackhawk kits couldn’t be assembled in the uk. The Aw149 is final production only also.
Numbers are very important for this deal. Need as many as possible.
149 or Blackhawk. Both are great

Klonkie
Klonkie (@guest_695653)
1 year ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

liking your Blackhawk points MS!

BB85
BB85 (@guest_694722)
1 year ago

Interesting that Boeing are able to submit the MH 139, which is a licensed version of the AW139. Surely Leonardo would have signed a contract preventing them from marketing it anywhere outside the US.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_695089)
1 year ago
Reply to  BB85

It depends. Leonardo might get a license cut from the deal plus extra work to do.
I know they get a cut from all ATK-129 Turkish sell plus i think they sell the transmissions.

BB85
BB85 (@guest_695100)
1 year ago
Reply to  AlexS

True, I can’t see Boeing winning with their bid it’s bound to be a two horse race between Leonardo and Airbus.
I’m not really a big Leonardo fan in terms of their investment in Yeovil. It just feels like they only produce their minimum they can get away with from MOD orders while selling 1,000s of helecopters from their factories in Italy.

Watcherzero
Watcherzero (@guest_694724)
1 year ago

I understand Sikorsky have offered to set up UK assembly for the Black Hawk, though that would likely go down very poorly in Poland as they had promised when they bought it that it would be the site for fulfilling all European orders.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_694751)
1 year ago

I think the 175 is the outsider and the Grey Wolf is effectively a 139. So we have the old friend that you know, the Black Hawk or the new kid on the block, the 149. As I understand it we’re after around 45. Pound for pound the 149 seems to have advantages, nearly twice the “payload” and a better range? The B.H. is like the old Land Rover. Well built, proven and with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of air miles to her name. I don’t know what I would choose but if it’s down to cost the… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694762)
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Watch this space, then the meltdown here again as reality hits home.

The AAC is being cut again as we speak, a bit of a stealth cut and a minor one, but a cut nonetheless, as the Bells have been withdrawn from Brunei and existing RAF Pumas sent to replace them.

Those units are directly involved in this program regards replacements.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_694765)
1 year ago

The Treasury giveth and the Treasury taketh away…

Same old, same old

Cheers CR

Paul Bestwick
Paul Bestwick (@guest_694886)
1 year ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Err when was the last time the treasury giveth, they have to be dragged kicking and screaming to the payments section of their accounting software.

Klonkie
Klonkie (@guest_694940)
1 year ago

I thin your prediction is sot on DM(sadly)

Klonkie
Klonkie (@guest_694941)
1 year ago
Reply to  Klonkie

sorry, spot on

Bob
Bob (@guest_694771)
1 year ago

Odds on numbers will be cut, whatever we buy

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_694848)
1 year ago

Another interesting discussion:
The Polish 32 AW 149 will have missiles that look like Brimstone.

Should the British ones also have them?
The Polish call them “multi role attack helicopters” and will do missions from medical evac to missile attack if necessary.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins (@guest_694860)
1 year ago
Reply to  AlexS

More on the subject can be found here. The agreement, with a value of PLN 8.25B gross (USD ~1.81B) concerns the delivery of 32 AW149 battlefield support helicopters, while the deliveries would take place between 2023 and 2029. Krzysztof Płatek, spokesman for the Armament Agency, the Polish MoD’s procurement body added, via his Twitter account, that the agreement would also entail establishing relevant industrial potential – domestically. The MoD claims that the helicopters would receive sensors, guns, and guided and unguided missiles/rockets, as well as a self-protection suite. The guided effectors would also include ATGMs – but it is unclear which missile… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_694956)
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

How much is the Uk budget for the helicopters? I had £1b in my head.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins (@guest_694959)
1 year ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Hi Monkey Spanker, One Billion it seems.

The pound has gone to 💩against the dollar (currently 1.23) so a US purchase is out of the question it would seem and not that many going on the Polish order above for the money we have allocated to it!

“The £1bn contract is set to run from 2023 to 2028 and includes crew training, as well as technical support and maintenance.”

I’m not sure If Revell or Airfix put in a tender for the contract I heard £250 quid per unit. That didn’t include training, technical support, maintenance, or glue sadly 😂

Last edited 1 year ago by Nigel Collins
Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_695177)
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Oh dear. So Australia pays nearly $2 for 40 Blackhawks, Poland pays $1.81 for 32 AW149.
24 helicopters for the uk then.
The devil will be in the detail of extras. Maybe 44 bare helicopters minus the cup holders and fluffy dice.
Training, manuals and spares ina spectate budget.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_695231)
1 year ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Stupid autocorrect it should be separate not spectate
Also $2 billion not 2

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins (@guest_695259)
1 year ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

It will be very interesting to see the final outcome that’s for sure!

Lockheed Martin is pitching its Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk at the UK’s New Medium Helicopter (NMH) requirement for up to 44 helicopters to replace the Puma, Griffin, and Dauphin fleets. The company states that it is “well-positioned” to meet the requirement and highlights its long history of delivering helicopters to the UK military through licensed production of Sikorsky types by Westland.”

Jon
Jon (@guest_695091)
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Alignment with countries like Poland, Japan and Italy, rather than just the US and France may be our immediate future. However I hope we don’t forget the US and France, which will still be our bread and butter allies.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins (@guest_695150)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon

Norway, Sweeden and Holland will always be sound allies along with Poland as you say and hopefully one day Ukraine.

I wonder if Cleverly will get that very elusive trade deal with the USA.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_695230)
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

doubtful on a trade deal unless he gives the Americans everything they want with nothing in return. These deals go through so much negotiations with back room people first.
He should get the EU deal sorted out first.

Andy Poulton
Andy Poulton (@guest_694849)
1 year ago

Somewhat ironic that the Boeing Grey Wolf is heavily based on a US manufactured Leonardo AW139

Richard Beedall
Richard Beedall (@guest_694867)
1 year ago

Don’t write off the Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk option. Proven, low risk, probably the cheapest option to buy and operate, and offsets (e.g., T31, CAMM) will be negotiable with Poland. It’s often a mugs game setting up an expensive local production line for final assembly of a small MoD order, which is then closed. We need products where exports can fill production gaps, or collaboration bulks up the volume. The F-35 may get a lot of flak, but it’s sustaining a substantial UK aerospace industrial base during the hole between Typhoon and Tempest.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_695079)
1 year ago

The AW 149 is very likely to have significant orders, it’s also low risk as it’s already in production.black hawk is just a money black hole, all money paid is lost…AW149, increases tax base and may potentially have significant export potential…so any money payed will increase the tax take.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins (@guest_695151)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan

👍🇬🇧

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_695224)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Good reads from everyone here. Is there a ASW version of the AW149? A potential “tweener” Wildcat-Merlin – SeaHawk equivalent? Just curious.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_695239)
1 year ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

No there is not an AW 149 ASW version regrettably since the NH-90 debacle will give it a good market and a proper competition to the MH-70 (EH 101 is a bigger bird and much more expensive).

Only a marinized version for amphibious operations.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_697443)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Austria that ordered 18 AW-149 just exercised the option that it had for 18 more.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_697573)
1 year ago
Reply to  AlexS

Yes we have lost an industrial opportunity as a few years ago Leonardo offered to move the entire production of the AW149 if HMG would confirm it would be its replacement medium lift rotor. Even already it’s order books have around 70 rotors and it’s still a young design with many decades to attract many orders….unfortunately missed industrial opportunity that could have meant more opportunity to increase our medium rotor fleet over a number of decades.

Bill
Bill (@guest_694881)
1 year ago

Until it’s cancelled. Par for the course.

Clive
Clive (@guest_695007)
1 year ago

Skillsets in the UK are not manufacturing biased anymore. The high living standards demanded and the levels of consumerism, mean we are unlikely to be competitive anymore. Thanks, all those strikers in the 1970’s.

A similar reason exists as to why home nation teams are never successful in football. Premier league is approximately 70% of overseas players.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_695023)
1 year ago

I really like the AW149. It’s not like most people think a civilian rotor painted green ( like the AW139) but a complete military build from the ground up. It’s got better performance than the black hawk and actually has better safety features if your going to crash the AW149 edges out the Blackhawk on managing deceleration. But and this is the important bit you always have to consider every decision not as an individual decision, but as part of a collective whole…this has where a lot of our national procurement has gone wrong in defence and infrastructure. You cannot… Read more »

George Lynes
George Lynes (@guest_695153)
1 year ago

Let the military decide which helicopter suits their needs. No more purchasing debacles please!
Remember the appalling SA-80 fiasco?

Combat wombat
Combat wombat (@guest_695176)
1 year ago

The reason why our manufacturing base has eroded of the last 30 years is because we have allowed stuff like ITAR to creep into the process, number 1. this gives the yanks say on who we can export too and who we can’t. Number 2. ITAR gives the Americans the ability to choose the suppliers to ensure ITAR compliance invariably this leads to American approved suppliers being given the nod. Number 3. Once a product is covered by ITAR so is its whole manufacture and supply chain this heaps massive cost onto the whole budget. ITAR also gives the Americans… Read more »

Jon
Jon (@guest_695246)
1 year ago

I hadn’t realized that Britain is the lead nation for the NATO’s Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability (NGRC) project for six European countries, specifically the Army. It’s in “concept” until 2025, and at its launch signing Ben Wallace was talking about buying us interim helicopters for medium lift (presumably NMH). So whatever it is the Army gets for NMH could be replaced towards the end of next decade with something completely new (Treasury willing). I’m not sure what that means for the RAF. I wonder if it’s politically possible for us to be the lead on NGRC without UK manufacturing supported… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Jon
Tams
Tams (@guest_695250)
1 year ago

While all are capable, the two US offerings should be thrown out for not offering any domestic involvement in the construction.

And Sikorsky’s offer to assemble them in Poland is taking the piss. Not that the Polish can’t do the job, but because we aren’t Poland.

So that leaves Airbus and Leonardo. Leonardo have more construction facilities for rotorcraft in the UK already and have a tiltrotor in the works, so getting in there might be a good idea.

Plus, Leonardo are part Westland, which would be a nice but not important touch.

Colin
Colin (@guest_695310)
1 year ago

I thought the Uk Special forces wanted the Black Hawk already battle tested

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_695517)
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

I understand they do, but when has that had any bearing on these matters.

Steve Archibald
Steve Archibald (@guest_705858)
1 year ago

Another opportunity for Leonardo to bully their way into a contract. They won’t create new jobs if they win this – they’ll just hold on to the ones that they’ll threaten to cut if they don’t win.

“We’ll have to think long and hard about the viability of our Yeovil operations if we don’t win this blah blah blah…”

They do it every time – it’s high time their bluff was called.

Cripes
Cripes (@guest_728112)
11 months ago

How small, slow and pared back this NMH order is! It is informative to compare the standard US Army provision of medium utility Black Hawks against our own. Their standard establishment is 10 front-line helis per manoeuvre brigade, so enough to lift an air assault infantry company of 110 men, as well as giving their brigades a good medium lift capability to transport weapons ammo, stores etc up to the line. In addition, each division has a command & EW company with 8 front-line helis and a medevac company with 12. For a force the size of ours, plus detachments… Read more »

Martin
Martin (@guest_808498)
1 month ago

its now 2 years since the MOD stated looking still nothing, any idea on when this not yet ordered helicopters will enter service and will there strangely be less than 44 ordered?