PARIS — U.K. has signed a €60 million ($79 million) contract to support the U.K.’s upgraded fleet of Eurocopter SA330 Puma Mk2 support helicopters flown by the .
The deal, signed June 6, will last three years and will cover spares and support as the aircraft begins to reenter service following the upgrade process carried out by Eurocopter at its facilities in the U.K., France and Romania under the Puma Life Extension Program contract awarded to Eurocopter U.K. in 2009.
Under the program, the company is upgrading 24 helicopters, all of which have been inducted. Eight have so far completed the process with the first of them currently undergoing test at Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, prior to service entry later this year. The upgrade extends the operational life of the aircraft to 2025.
Improvements to the Puma Mk2 include the use of newMakila 1A1 engines, the integration of a full glass cockpit incorporating modern avionics and a flight-management system. The update also includes a digital automatic flight-control system; as well as the incorporation of a secure communications suite, defensive aids and ballistic protection for crew and passengers.
The engines are being supported by Helicopter MRO organization, Heli-One, which was awarded the contract in early February. The deal was not only Heli-One’s first one with the U.K. defense ministry but it also marks the first engine support contract put out by the ministry that has not gone to the engine supplier.