Eurocopter UK Ltd. and the British Ministry of Defence signed a contract on September 18 for the Life Extension Programmefor 28 of the Royal Air Force’s fleet of Puma Mk1 helicopters. The upgraded Pumas, which will be designated Puma HC Mk2, will consequently offer significantly enhanced performance and operational capabilities, thus being capable of remaining in service until at least 2022. The contract is valued at £220 million (€250 million) and is due to be completed by December 2014.
The programme is based on comprehensive upgrades, including new Turbomeca Makila 1A1 engines, a glass cockpit, new communications, navigation and defensive systems, and a digital autopilot. The Puma HC Mk2’s performance and payload will be substantially increased, particularly in hot and high conditions. As a key pillar of the Royal Air Force’s fleet of medium lift helicopters, Puma continues to play a major role in operational theatres, delivering very high operational readiness levels.