The UK Ministry of Defence has selected four aerospace giants to compete for its 1-billion-pound ($1.15 billion) New Medium Helicopter (NMH) program.
Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Airbus, and Leonardo were told last week that they passed the pre-qualification assessment and are now moving forward to the project’s next phase.
The four firms are now waiting for the complete requirements to be released by the MoD, with the request for proposals expected to be issued in 2023.
“The second half of the competition, in which we will ask the selected suppliers to provide more detailed responses, is due to be launched later this financial year,” a spokesperson said, as quoted by Breaking Defense.
Bell and British firm AceHawk Aerospace did not qualify for the billion-dollar program.
New Medium Helicopter Program
In 2021, the UK MoD launched the “Defence in a Competitive Age” project to invest in a new medium-lift helicopter during the mid-2020s.
The aircraft will replace the remaining Puma HC2 battlefield helicopters and smaller models, including the Bell 212HP AH1 and the AS365N3 Dauphin.
As part of the program, contractors must demonstrate how their proposals can provide long-term social value and economic growth to the UK.
Once developed, a maximum of 44 NMHs will be procured by the country’s MoD. They are expected to enter service by 2025.
Lockheed Martin is pitching its S-70M Black Hawk, an upgraded version of the S-70i, powered by two T700-GE701D turboshaft engines that allow it to fly at 277 kilometers (172 miles) per hour.
Boeing is proposing its MH-139 Grey Wolf, designed to protect intercontinental ballistic missile bases and transport military personnel.
It has a state-of-the-art avionics system with advanced flight deck functionality for improved situational awareness and reduced crew workload.
The other two pitches are Airbus’ H175M super-medium utility helicopter and Leonardo’s AW149 multi-role military chopper.