Duties will range from supporting FOST to transporting personnel and freight to the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.

According to a pre-procurement notice published by the Ministry of Defence on the 16th of May, 2022.

“Indicative Requirement – Fleet Helicopter Support Unit (FHSU) – The user requires a contracted crewed capability that can provide a medium-lift maritime Support Helicopter (SH) capability to support tasking by day and night and in all weather conditions within the Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) South Coast Exercise Areas (SCXAs) and wider UK Flight Information Region (FIR).

In addition to the principal task of transporting personnel and/or freight to, from and between ships at sea in the SCXAs for FOST, a further two requirements are under consideration for inclusion within the future FHSU contract:

  • Provision of land-based maritime airborne Search and Rescue (SAR) service for Maritime Counter Terrorism (MCT) Force Generation training. This would encompass supporting up to six (6) UK based exercises per year, each of up to one (1) week duration in two calendar blocks occurring in Spring and Autumn each year and requiring up to 24hrs flying per exercise.
  • This requires an assured ability to search for and recover individual persons from the sea at night, with an additional emphasis on being able to deliver them rapidly to specialist medical care in a timely manner.
  • A further emerging requirement may be to transport personnel and/or freight to the Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) carrier and other UK based RN shipping based around an initial utilisation of circa 100hrs/yr.”

The anticipated contract length is approximately 5 years with a potential option to extend.

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. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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John Clark
John Clark
5 days ago

Why not just roll this into Puma replacement and buy a good number of Blackhawks to cover all our service roles.

60 to 80 to cover all our medium support and transport needs . Most importantly, stop pissing money away on outsourcing….

Andrew D
Andrew D
5 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Maybe worth thinking about 🤔

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
5 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

The forces must be finding an issue with having enough helicopters to undertake these roles or they think it will free up helicopters to take on other roles.
The FOST delivery I’m guessing is delivering high up ranks to and from shore bases and ships. I would of thought landing on ships is something only military would be cleared to do? The other role surely helicopter crews also have to practice the recovery at sea roles and other roles mentioned? I don’t know so maybe someone who does can shed some light on this.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
5 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

I will be very surprised if the purchase ends up being Blackhawks/seahawks.
I think they would be ok and see the forces through until the next generation helicopters come online.
Any of the helicopters in the competition would be a good choice really.

John Clark
John Clark
4 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

I’m sure they would, in my opinion the latest Blackhawk is as good as anything else out there, cheaper than the competition, thoroughly tested and utterly reliable.

Seahawks not needed, Blackhawk can happily carry out the full range of general tasking required by the MOD, from dropping troops into a hot LZ, to taking Rear Admiral Blowhard out to admire his new Aircraft Carrier….

Not VIP enough for him or General Melchett, tough luck, they will have to rough it….

AlexS
AlexS
4 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Blackhawk capacity/small is small but lets not exaggerate.
I don’t understand some here that just want one helicopter type for everything…
Even companies have various types.

John Clark
John Clark
4 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Because one affordable and reliable medium sized type will complement Chinook and do the job…

I personally don’t understand the wish to shovel money into the furnace re-inventing the wheel on totally unproven designs that will cost billions to modify and build…

It’s a relatively simple support Helicopter that’s required, not cutting edge technologies.

I guess it comes down to the KISS philosophy, keep it simple stupid…

Steve
Steve
4 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Polictics. You have people on this blog complaining when British companies are not chosen and they have a vague interest in doing defense right. Policticans only care about being reelected and so would rather spend huge amounts of money on a white elephant if it was a british white elephant and the bad news stories won’t hit until after the election.

AlexS
AlexS
3 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Blackhawk is not afordable…

Even USAF choose AW 139 for their Nuke sites instead of Blackhawk

John Clark
John Clark
3 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Evening Alex, The Blackhawk comes in at $5.9 million per standard spec, off the shelf, according to Google… Let’s say we use the sensible solution and purchase a single type to cover all medium lift and general support (big leap of faith I know), the hot favourite to win, the AW149 comes in at $18 -20 million ( according to Google) , that’s obviously before UK specific modifications and a UK line … So anyone care to hazard a guess at a unit price after the Mod has eventually finished pissing about ?? I am going to say $30/35 million… Read more »

James Fennell
James Fennell
21 minutes ago
Reply to  John Clark

This is a contracted capability not a purchase.

Lusty
Lusty
5 days ago

Who’s going to be the one to tell them that FOST had its name changed a little while ago?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  Lusty

😀 Still FOST, just not Flag Officer.

Lusty
Lusty
4 days ago

How many cups of tea and biscuits were consumed while they thought of all manner of ways to keep the acronym ‘FOST’ while changing the name itself? 😂

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  Lusty

I don’t see why they changed in the first place. It is very hard to keep up you know!

Darren hall
Darren hall
4 days ago

Someone might find the ”Flag” bit offensive Or the ”Officer” bit elitist…

Challenger
Challenger
4 days ago

Can it not be included in the medium helicopter replacement for Puma? Do small and separate purchases for niche fleets not cost more than larger fleets providing commonality of training and maintenance?

Know lots of people want Blackhawks but supporting UK industry with the AW149 or Airbus option will be hard to resist, especially with plenty of rhetoric from the government over the last couple of years around supporting British tech/jobs and diversifying the economy by on-shoring key capabilities.

Steve
Steve
4 days ago
Reply to  Challenger

Rhetoric yes, but actually doing anything about it no, we recently sold off the national grid to a foreign company, at the same time as we were having the energy crisis. However I would guess going with Leonardo would be a vote winner and so will happen.

Jon
Jon
4 days ago
Reply to  Steve

I missed the National Grid sell off. That’s crazy! It should never have been privatised.

Last edited 4 days ago by Jon
Farouk
Farouk
4 days ago

Should have purchased this 30 odd years ago

DP
DP
4 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

Now you’re talkin! That was one sleek looking chopper. I especially liked the boosters for a burst of acceleration.

Daveyb
Daveyb
4 days ago
Reply to  DP

I think the the way it could mechanically split from being a two rotor to four was the best.

Airborne
Airborne
4 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

OMG what a classic corny series! Loved it!

Simon
Simon
4 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

Great stuff , brought back some memories.

Steve M
Steve M
4 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

Not sure could do the tasks!! freight/SAR but hell yeah replace AH-64’s

LongTime
LongTime
4 days ago

Actually re-reading this it sounds like a contract to supply these roles not aircraft. So similar to Bairstows SAR contact.

Just me?

AlexS
AlexS
4 days ago
Reply to  LongTime

Looks like that. A contract to a company that already an helicopter fleet.
Probably Bristows will also be going for it.

Steve
Steve
4 days ago
Reply to  LongTime

Yeah the post is for outsourcing. Unclear if short term gap filling or another fudge to cover for lack of funds.

DMJ
DMJ
4 days ago
Reply to  Steve

It has been outsourced for sometime. It’s a contract that’s up for renewal. Try reading the whole thread and comments before trying to start another of your predictable rants

Steve
Steve
4 days ago
Reply to  DMJ

Try reading the thread yourself. I was just confirming what the post I replied to that it is a outsourcing and not a buy. There are two options here, it’s either a gap filler until the new helicopters are selected to fill the gap, as most people are discussing here, or its as with any similar contract it’s a way for the MOD to avoid the upfront cost of buying the helicopters. Outsourcing only saves money if it is a non core capability, such as the air tankers that are only required in a surge situation but outside that would… Read more »

Angus
Angus
4 days ago

Seem that most still have little idea about what the RN actually does. It’s all real at sea fellows not playing around. The Helo’s that have supported FOST do a first class job and within the Fleet acknowledged as always to be relied on. No they are NOT VIP shuttles but used to take out the trainers to Ships working up and being made ready for WAR and much much more. Those trainers work dam long hours and at the end get the crews up to a level few others come close too. All those in that team get a… Read more »

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
4 days ago
Reply to  Angus

Well said 👍

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago

A pair of Eurocopter Dauphin have been used for this for some time. Nothing new.

DH
DH
4 days ago

DM_yeh, I remember the Duffan on the Ark Royal…. Utterly crap all-rounder. Nice red paint though. 😔

Fussy Reader
Fussy Reader
4 days ago

This is an existing requirement with an incumbent provider (BIH). It is a services contract and not a contract where
MOD are looking to procure an aircraft. The provider needs to have the aircraft to deliver the service and as you can see, it is not a full time role.

Steve
Steve
4 days ago
Reply to  Fussy Reader

Yeah, which means they probably have already choosen the provider, as I can’t imagine there is a huge amount of competition.

FOSTERSMAN
FOSTERSMAN
4 days ago

I hate MOD jargon, so is this a contract to for extra support helos for the RN or is it another contract for a private company to supply crews and airframes? To me sounds like another bristow helicopters situation aka another sell off but maintain capacity part time

Lusty
Lusty
3 days ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

It’s the latter: a contract for the provision of aircrews and airframes to support the RN when it comes to things like FOST. Using a contract for it is nothing new and it has happened for a number of years now, with two airframes operating in the role currently. Devonport recently had a new helipad installed to support the support choppers in their support work. It looks like the scope of the contract has been expanded slightly as well.