A unique paint scheme has been unveiled by the Royal Air Force to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Puma helicopter.

The Puma, a medium-lift support helicopter, has flown on combat and humanitarian operations around the world over the last five decades, including Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Mozambique and the Caribbean.

According to the Royal Air Force:

“On 29 January 1971, the first to Royal Air Force Puma helicopters were delivered into service. To commemorate 50 years of service, Puma HC Mk2 XW224 has been given a unique new paint scheme. Today it flew its maiden flight in its new colours. The aircraft scheme is similar to that which the first Puma HC Mk 1 aircraft were painted when they were delivered in 1971 but with several notable differences:

  • the engine housing boasts the badges of all the squadrons who have flown the Puma, both as a HC Mk 1 and a HC Mk 2;
  • the tail fin is emblazoned with the union flag; and,
  • the standard Royal Air Force logo on the cabin door has been replaced with the bespoke Puma 50 logo.

XW224 was due to be repainted this year.  In honour of the 50th anniversary of the Puma helicopter in service with the Royal Air Force, it was agreed that a unique new paint scheme would be used on the aircraft.”

The RAF add that the helicopters have also supported Defence in the UK such as providing helicopter lift capability to flood relief efforts and the coronavirus pandemic.

In early 2020, the Pumas deployed at short notice to Kinloss Barracks to provide vital transport for personnel and equipment in Scotland and Northern England in the early stages of the pandemic, as well as remaining on standby 24/7 to support any task required in the UK.

The aircraft will howevr be replaced in the near future.

UK’s ‘New Medium Helicopter Programme’ detailed

The New Medium Helicopter Programme will see four of the medium-sized helicopters currently in service across the armed forces replaced by one new helicopter.

You can read more here.

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Dennis REEVES
Dennis REEVES
5 days ago

As a 9 year old in 1970 I went to the official opening parade at RAF Odiham. Dad was a Ch/Tech on 33sqn

geoff
geoff
5 days ago
Reply to  Dennis REEVES

Lovely memories Dennis. You must have been very proud of Dad. My memory of 1970 was turning 21, getting pissed at my party, and getting up terrified and inebriated to make a speech..
“I would just like to….”
And that was it!!😅

John Clark
John Clark
5 days ago

The RAF has certainly had great use out of the fleet in 50 years, even if todays Hc 2 Puma is actually quite different from the rolled out Hc1….

Cougar power train and avionics I believe??

A bit of a triggers broom in reality!

Lynx and Puma ( plus the excellent Jaguar) were certainly a high point for Anglo French cooperation in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

geoff
geoff
5 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Hi John. So sad that the Westland of those days was British owned and a major designer and manufacturer and is now basically a totally foreign owned assembler and sub-contractor. as part of the UK’s newly found independence wouldn’t it be nice if we could at least buy back some shares in Agusta Westland along with the likes of JLR and Airbus to give us a bigger say and dare i say salvage some pride?

Order of the Ditch
Order of the Ditch
5 days ago
Reply to  geoff

This country totally lacks an industrial strategy so will not happen.
The FT were reporting today how after a mere 18 months Cobham has been stripped and sold off into different chunks.
40 years of political short sightedness.

geoff
geoff
5 days ago

Agree entirely. Such poisonous asset strippers must be reined in.

John Clark
John Clark
5 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Couldn’t agree more guys, Tony Blair sold off the last of the family silver, nothing left to sell….

I would agree that some government shares ( amounting to a real stake and some control) should be had in certain industries …. I best have a lay down in a darkened room with a cold compress, I appear to be suggesting nationalisation!

I’ll be considering demarcation, 3 day weeks, working to rule and an ‘everybody out’ ballot for the cup final next…..

geoff
geoff
5 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Your last suggestion i can identify with er assuming we are in the Final 😀!!

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
5 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

And what exactly, is wrong with nationalisation? It’s funny how ‘tory types’ use nationalisation how, when and as it best suits them, and their arguments. Like re-nationalising part of the failed rail franchises, which is ‘in vogue’ now.

Steve
Steve
5 days ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

Nationalisation is a bad idea, the public sector is proven to be massively inefficent. However you don’t need state ownership the protect UK industries from takeover, there are plenty of other ways to do it, as proven by many blocked European takeovers and even the home of capitism the US

John Clark
John Clark
3 days ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

What’s wrong with nationalisation Tom, ask anyone who lived through the 70’s….

I’m just about old enough to remember that car crash economy era…..

The perfect storm of Government controlled industries in the hands of a government controlled in turn, by the Unions … A couple more years of Callahans Labour and this country would have been broken beyond repair….

Clunking State controlled industries performed ‘poorly’, to say the least … As stated above, I’m not however totally opposed to some government shares in certain strategic industries…. To provide a measure of control.

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
3 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Well I lived through the 70’s, and the reality is, those days are gone! They will not return under any circumstances. However thats all that is ever rolled out every single time … oh remember the 70’s. 1970 … 2021 = 50 years ago!

And by the way, 70’s Britain was better than the 2000’s in many ways.

John Clark
John Clark
1 day ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

Go on Tom, name 5 ways the UK was better in 1975 than it is today….. Certainly not my recollections, we may have nut job, looney left Woke issues to deal with today …. But, we have wealth, country and personal, beyond the wildest dreams of average joe in the 70’s. We have a much cleaner, much richer country, with ‘far’ more opportunities for all…. Some believe Britain is a as bleak and dreary as a depressing Jimmy McGovern TV series unfortunately….. Poor old Jimmy is stuck in a miners strike, 1984 ground hog day, were it’s always winter and… Read more »

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
1 day ago
Reply to  John Clark

Only 5??
You Have wealth? Oh goody … the majority don’t!
We didn’t have food banks in the 70’s!
We didn’t have millions living below the poverty line!
We didn’t have kids going without food, especially school meals!
We DO NOT have opportunities for all! We have postcode lotteries.
We didn’t have zero hour contracts!
We had more open space.
We had more school fields to play on.
We had lots of public housing.
We had more human rights.
We had more workers rights.

I could go on, and on. Try looking at BOTH sides of the coin.

John Clark
John Clark
1 day ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

Oh, I see you drank the Corbyn cool aid, as our American cousins would say….. The majority aren’t more wealthy than 1975, I’m going to assume you live in Albania perhaps…. Food banks and kids going without food, dreadful, odd thing is we have never had so many fat waddling people pooling about on Obescycles… Fattest people in Europe apparently Tom…. Let’s pick a couple … More human rights, unless you were black, or Irish or a woman perhaps.. If you think 1970’s levels of human rights were really better, you best go live in Russia. Better workers rights, you… Read more »

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
1 day ago
Reply to  John Clark

Dude … I know and have very close friends from right across the political/wealth spectrum. You were brought up in the North East … very nice part of the world, and among the worst hit by your ‘brave new richer world. For you to be lambasting the mid late 70’s, something serious must have effected you Maybe you turned into one of ‘Thatcher’s children’. She was an amazing woman to very many, including people like you maybe, my father, uncles of mine etc, who were persuaded ‘your not working class any more’ and so voted tory the rest of …… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 hour ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

The 70s were the collapse of 30 years of postwar failure to adapt. Something european nations had done in less time hence rhe constantly unflattering comparisons. In terms of your comments on less hatred – ask an ethnic minority person what they think of that statement for the period. What we worry about as hatred now is nothing to the ingrained and unapolgetically outspoken racism and sexism that existed, not to mention regardign sexuality. Child abuse was tolerated and rampant in institutions, schools and the church, which still had pernicious power and influence (now an irrelevence). In terms of meritocracy,… Read more »

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
11 minutes ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Maybe I am an ethnic minority person, and lets not go near physical and mental abuse dude.

Your view on the 70’s has been tarnished, manipulated and has resulted in you trashing those times.

Better in the 21st century than then … oh please. When you whine about strikes and piles of rubbish, thats the only memory you have left of that time. Enough of the attempts at counter arguing with food banks etc. At that point, you are merely insulting the unfortunates of today, not those of the 70’s. I’m done with this now.

Rogbob
Rogbob
2 minutes ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

But I think we all know you aren’t. Nor do you even seem to have empathy for those that very much suffered in what compared to today was a rubbish place to be if you didnt fit into the accepted types of people. Hence the “brain drain” of the brightest who were able to get out. My view is my view, as it can only ever be, the one manipulating things here is yourself as you try desperately to claim that today is awful and then was great – in the face of repeated evidence to the contrary. Although I… Read more »

ATH
ATH
5 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Buy “we” do you mean that HMG should partly nationalise these companies? If not who do you think the “we” should be?

geoff
geoff
5 days ago
Reply to  ATH

I mean several things. Firstly although am a Free Market man, I believe the broadly ‘laissez faire’ environment which has characterised the British economy starting with Maggie Thatcher’s tenure has brought both benefits but also many ills. We have sold off much of the family silver and in so doing lost control over real and intellectual property-in particular the loss of the latter has allowed other nations to reap the benefits of developing these. As to the ‘whoms’ .Some State intervention initially to secure a base for local participation, but structured to give management a maximum say and mandarins only… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
5 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Well said Geoff….

geoff
geoff
5 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Thank you John. Hope you are well.

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
5 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Well said indeed. As for the Westland ‘affair’ ah I remember it well. Merge with British Aerospace and Augusta (a French outfit), or merge with Sikorsky … Heseltine was lobbying hard for the ‘European option’ and many wondered why …

AlexS
AlexS
5 days ago
Reply to  geoff

“So sad that the Westland of those days was British owned and a major designer” 

I am sorry but that is not true. The only design they did was Lynx with French and Merlin with Agusta.
Westland had no design and no product line later except legacy. That is why they were sold to Agusta.

geoff
geoff
5 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Hello Alex. I understand what you say and my comment was poorly worded. Appreciate that they started by producing old American designs-as Wessex and Whirlwind(from memory-haven’t Googled!) nevertheless it represented a British design facility with the potential to design and build helicopters locally. Britain needs indigenous hi-tech manufacturers as part of its rebranding and regenerating so i don’t see why we cannot have a local plant that cannot at least partner with say the Italians in the whole spectrum including some local equity ownership. I also think that allowing employee shareholding is also a great incentive even though with the… Read more »

Last edited 5 days ago by geoff
AlexS
AlexS
5 days ago
Reply to  geoff

But you don’t get that without will from people building a helicopter company. What you have to offer that others do not – not just comercial product, but to workers, how do you get the best engineers, the best ideas? It is just not magic wand. Also Britain is not able to be in all pies when technology increase complexity every generation. Not even USA can. Their naval gun manufacturing was sold to BAE. Westland had no tech depth and no world service depth, since they were only a military company concern, competing only for Government(s) money. While Agusta is… Read more »

geoff
geoff
4 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Perhaps I am letting my absurd patriotism(Laurence Olivier’s words) cloud my brain Alex! What you say makes sense but all I think I want to say is that there should be no barrier to allowing some shareholding in Britain and that the British wing of Agusta should be in a position to take a more prominent part in the creation of new material. In essence, time to buy back some of the spoons from the Pawnbroker for many good reasons
Cheers from Durban

Nic
Nic
5 days ago

I hope when the MOD select the replacement for the Puma that they choose a helicopter that is as sturdy and robust and has the same capability .

John Clark
John Clark
5 days ago
Reply to  Nic

Cough, cough, Blackhawk, Cough …. Sorry cleared my throat now …. Obviously the answer is a political one, an expensive, fragile and complex Italian offering perhaps….

NIC
NIC
5 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Blackhawk , Defiant or NH90 would be good , but I have a feeling it is going to be the much publicised AW149.

AlexS
AlexS
5 days ago
Reply to  NIC

Blackhawk is going obsolecent , Defiant will be ridiculous expensive and whatever gremlin will have about new tech.
AW-149( And civilian brother AW-189 and family AW-139,169 ) is operating with a lot of forces and comercial and it is the helicopter for SAR in Home Coast Guard UK and Falkland service so whatever it is. not fragile or expensive or complex.
This helicopters family already sold more than 1000 helicopters, so not a small number.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHFdujvqbFA

AlexS
AlexS
5 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Link is for AW 189 in Falklands

Nic
Nic
5 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

If they go for AW149 Leonardo have said that they would move the production to Yeovil.

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
4 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

I am very much in the ‘Let’s buy Blackhawk camp’ and respectfully disagree with your assertion that it is going obsolescent (it’s younger than Chinook), the latest variants are cutting edge systems wise when it comes to helicopters and a known equation which would allow us to operate with many coalition partners seamlessly. Personally the AW149 would be near the bottom of the list one step above the H175 (too much Chinese content) and below the AS532 Cougar, NH90 and Blackhawk respectively. The only positive for AW149 is its British built and frankly I would rather have Blackhawk preferably with… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
4 days ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

I read somewhere that Westland got a licence to build Blackhawk many years ago. Wonder how that would still work

Nic
Nic
3 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

I think you are correct about Blackhawk I think it was in the picture around the time the Puma being chosen , Also I think it was offered also during the Afghanistan conflict to plug the gap in the RAF helicopter short fall.

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 hour ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

Ive always been a fan of Blackhawk having been in them and they feel solid.

But talk to people who’ve flown them, Puma and others and its a very different story with Blackhawk being a bit of a nightmare. Equally on the maintenance front and availability – works for the US with deep pockets, lots of people and infra, not so much if you dont have that.

AW149 is a cert apparantly, due to Westland’s political clout and that being reinforced by UK politics.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Blackhawk’s design was completed in 1972 – first flew in 1974. It’s a very old aircraft!

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
3 days ago

Let’s hope for a sensible solution that fits the needs best. I don’t know what the needs are but an example could be, able to carry 9-10 soldiers 200-300 miles, lift a light gun or 5000lbs, very serviceable and desert and maritime friendly.
And most of all a good price and deal for UK plc.
See what fits around that and what u would compromise on, expand on and you have what’s needed. Can I have 50 please

I have a feeling it won’t be that simple tho

AlexS
AlexS
3 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

In the link i posted above AW 149 has the diagram.

18 troop ferry
or 12 troop + 2 gunner
or for csar : 4 combat+2 medic+2 strecher+2 gunner

Nic
Nic
2 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

I think the AW149 satisfies a lot of the requirements and also the fact that it could end up being built in the UK put it up the list .