Three new helicopters join the QinetiQ fleet at MOD Boscombe Down to expand the fleet of aircraft available to customers.

According to Qinetiq here:

“Providing test pilots and flight test engineers with cutting edge resources and the very latest learning tools has helped to keep ETPS at the forefront of flight test training for both military and civil customers for over 75 years. Our latest £multi-million investment in three new helicopters will further extend the fleet of aircraft available to ETPS and trials customers and give talented pilots, engineers and aircrew access to the most advanced and systems-rich helicopters of any test pilot school.

The latest expansion to our fleet takes the investment in new training, test and evaluation capabilities to well over £100 million over the past three years and, significantly, will provide unprecedented operational capacity and service capabilities for our customers training at ETPS or in delivery of test and evaluation projects. Representing the shift towards the modernisation of Test & Evaluation, this latest investment highlights our commitment to ensure capabilities match frontline training requirements through new technologies and facilities. Delivering such advanced Test and Evaluation capabilities will be of particular value to customers from both the military and civil sectors.

They will also offer considerable benefits for the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) and form a key part of our one stop shop for Aviation Special Mission Services through the Aircraft Engineering Centre (AEC) and the QinetiQ Civil Flying Organisation (QCFO) capabilities.”

Due to achieve initial operating capability this summer (2021), the new aircraft comprise two Agusta A109S Grand helicopters and a Leonardo AW139 helicopter fitted with an integrated Electro-Optical and Infra-Red (EO/IR) camera turret and a modern, complex avionics suite.

You can read more from the firm here.

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Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago

Used to enjoy driving down the 303 then turning off to park up at the end of Runway 23 for an afternoons watching.

Been so quiet last decade sadly with SAOEU moving and less assets visiting.

Nic
Nic
2 months ago

This could be a pointer as to what the next replacement will be for the Puma .

captain p wash
captain p wash
2 months ago
Reply to  Nic

Hopefully, either way the contracts (to replace the four) should really go to Yeovil if at all possible.

Jan van der Werk
Jan van der Werk
2 months ago
Reply to  captain p wash

There will be some horse-trading with the eight Chinook order I bet boet. For a battlefield “mule” I think Blackhawk is a better bet tbh.
These “deals” are all a bit suspect. Remember years back and Rooivalk and Mangusta were options for AAC attack? Then there was foot-stamping from Boeing over some civil orders and Brits ended up with Apache, can’t remember the exact sleaze details.
Given the current regime’s appetite for dodgy deals, we could end up Mi- 17’s lol!

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago

I think Blackhawk is a wasted design. Too small troop capability for such a comparatively heavy design.

Jan van der Werk
Jan van der Werk
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

It is tougher IMO, and better crew protection. If I were still reliant on anything for insertion it would be my choice. Then anything is better than an Alouette or Wessex 🙂

Jacko
Jacko
2 months ago

Alouette and Wessex went eons ago! Blackhawk is getting very long in the tooth as well. Leonardo A149 is very much in the frame as discussed on another thread on here.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago

Rumour was UKSF actually had some Mi17 for Afghan. Supposed to blend in easier than a western design. Several posters here will know for sure and there is footage on YouTube.

It is true MoD bought several and formed the “Special Duties Squadron” at Boscombe for training Afghan pilots. One had the famous “Raspberry Ripple” colour scheme, which I saw and photographed myself.

“Special Duties” or SD, also has links with SF and support of the UKIC so does make one wonder.

Jan van der Werk
Jan van der Werk
2 months ago

Yes, usually some contractor-operated I believe. In fairness, they are good, simple and reliable. A bit like an AK. I like that kind of kit, reminds me of home and the stuff Armscor came up with.

Nic
Nic
2 months ago
Reply to  captain p wash

yes it would be good for the country if the AW139 or AW149 was bought by the military

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 months ago
Reply to  captain p wash

See Airbus UK are throwing hat in as well.

Cripes
Cripes
2 months ago
Reply to  Nic

Both of these are really too small for the medium helo role. Mind you, the jury is out on what ‘medium means to JFH and the army. The US army is much clearer – a medium heli must be able to transport a section of 8-10 fully-equipped troops in the air assault role and carry upwards of 4t underslung load. They vetoed anything larger, as putting too many eggs in one basket. Loose a Merlin in this role and you are 30 soldiers down. Hence the Black Hawk is the principal heli in their divisional aviat ion brigades. The AW… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago

A-109 is the Helicopter that made Agusta independent. 50 year old design and still look modern, being build since 1971.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

We “liberated” a few in 82. Along with some Oerklion AA guns! RAF Reg or RAuxAFR even had the guns in a squadron for a while, maybe at Waddington, don’t recall exactly.
The 109’s went to “them”

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago

Weren’t they employed by SAS and other special forces?

Jan van der Werk
Jan van der Werk
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Yes, they were popular. Compared to Wessex they were quiet and nimble and fast. It is a very good design although a bit long in the tooth. I understand that armour protection is a bit lacking too.

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago

It is a light helicopter 2.8t while Wessex is 6.1t for example.

Herodotus
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Agree with that…it is remarkably up to date in its design. But, as a Fiat 500 owner, I have always said that you can’t beat Italian styling…goes back centuries you know!

captain p wash
captain p wash
2 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Did you buy it from new ? 🙂

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Not just in Italian machines either….!

Herodotus
2 months ago

Okay DM some great bodies as well, though I can’t vouch for yours !

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

True. Was more thinking of style. Italian girls have a certain something….! Sorry OT.

Herodotus
2 months ago

A colleague of mine who taught english in Rome for 2 years said that Italian girls were the most passionate creatures that he had ever met! Lucky swine….

John Clark
John Clark
2 months ago

They certainly do …. A certain style, best leave it there though….

Ding dong and toot toot …. Or is that sexist these days, I can’t keep up…

SoleSurvivor
SoleSurvivor
2 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

My first car was a Fiat Punto, looked like a shed.

Herodotus
2 months ago
Reply to  SoleSurvivor

Yes, so does the Panda….but the interior of the latest 500 is just like being inside a 50s radio….v strange!

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
2 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

They even had a touch of class back in the day!
comment image

Herodotus
2 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Probably weighs 2 tons and on solid tyres…..what a great car though!

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
2 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Fewer punctures to worry about, but I’m not sure I’d enjoy going over a pothole in one!

dan
dan
2 months ago

Wasn’t this the same basic type used in the 80s tv show Airwolf. But that version had rocket engines and missiles. lol

Herodotus
2 months ago
Reply to  dan

Wasn’t that Chitty Chitty bang-bang?

john melling
john melling
2 months ago
Reply to  dan

That was modified BELL 222