Eurocopter has handed over its first Puma HC2 helicopter.
September 13: The upgrade programme of the RAF Puma helicopter took a further step forward yesterday when Eurocopter handed over its first Puma HC2.
This upgrade enhances the aircraft’s performance, mission capability and safety. The first modified aircraft will fly from QinetiQ’s Boscombe Down facility where it will support trials.
Eurocopter’s first internal qualification of the Puma HC2 was achieved on July 6, concluding the first phase of the planned developments, with further enhancements to its mission capabilities planned over the coming months. To date, Eurocopter has completed the initial upgrade process on three Puma helicopters, all of which are now involved in flight testing.
The Puma HC2 will be akey element of the UK’s medium battlefield support helicopter capability and will be deployed for tactical troop and load movement by day and night. The upgrade will extend the operational lifetime and significantly upgrade the capabilities of 24 helicopters.
“This delivery milestone marks another important accomplishment in a programme that is vital for the UK’s combat capabilities, and it results equally from Eurocopter’s commitment to its success and our close cooperation with the Ministry of Defence,” said Markus Steinke, the Managing Director of Eurocopter UK. “Once upgraded, Puma Mk2s will be serving the Royal Air Force until 2025, offering exceptional performance and capability.”
Enhancements for the Puma Mk2 include major performance and safety improvements with the use of new Makila 1A1 turboshaft engines; the integration of a full glass cockpit incorporating modern avionics and a flight management system; the implementation of a digital automatic flight control system; as well as the incorporation of a secure communications suite, new defensive aids and ballistic protection for crew and passengers. Additionally, the helicopter’s greater onboard fuel capacity and lower fuel consumption will increase the Puma’s operating range. It will be able to carry twice the payload over three times the range than its predecessor.