Boeing joins Airbus Task Force bidding for new MoD helicopter contract

Airbus H175M design

US aircraft manufacturer, Boeing, has joined a task force bidding to win a government contract to provide helicopters to the Ministry of Defence that would be built at the Airbus plant in Broughton, near Chester, creating hundreds of jobs.

Last May the MoD launched a tender process to provide 44 New Medium Helicopters (NMH) for the UK Armed Forces, to replace its current fleet of Puma helicopters, from the middle of the decade.

The contract will include the provision of training, and a maintenace and spares package.

When the contract was first mooted in September 2021, Airbus said, if it won the tender, it would build a new assembly line at Broughton, creating hundreds of jobs. The new line could be in operation within 12 months of a contract being signed.

Airbus already employs around 4,500 staff at Broughton making wings for its commercial aircraft.

Today (March 6) it was announced that Boeing has become the latest and final defence and aerospace company to join the H175M Task Force addressing the UK NMH requirement.

As training services partner, Boeing Defence UK will provide aircrew, groundcrew and maintenance training, if the super-medium class Airbus H175M, to be built at Broughton, is selected to replace the Airbus Puma HC2.

The company joins a UK-based industry team created to offer, supply and support the British-built H175M which includes some of the most respected players in international aerospace.

Managing director of Airbus Helicopters in the UK, Lenny Brown, said: “Boeing Defence UK is rightly respected in this country for its long standing support of the British Chinook and Apache fleets.

“As training services partner it completes a rock solid line up of UK-based first tier aerospace partners who bring a guarantee of world class service provision to the UK Ministry of Defence for decades to come.”

Steve Burnell, managing director of Boeing Defence UK, said: “Our local team has supported the British Armed Forces for decades, sustaining hundreds of jobs across the country in helicopter training. As a member of the H175M Task Force, we look forward to leveraging our current expertise to ensure availability and readiness for the UK’s future helicopter fleets.”

Launched at the UK’s RIAT 2022 airshow, the H175M Task Force also includes defence and helicopter specialist Babcock fulfilling the critical role of support partner for the H175M in UK service at military operating locations.

In Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Prestwick, Scotland, Spirit AeroSystems, already an Airbus partner on the CityAirbus NextGen eVTOL aircraft, has begun extensive detailed design and manufacturing activities on the H175M.

In addition, Pratt & Whitney Canada, is formally partnering in the team for which it supplies and supports the highly reputed PT6C-67E turboshaft engines from its market leading family of powerplants.