Future UK military helicopter reaches next competition stage

27 February 2024 – The next stage of the New Medium Helicopter (NMH) Programme has been announced by the Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge, today.

The NMH Programme is an initiative to acquire a modern medium-lift support helicopter, which will deliver up to five rotary wing requirements using a single aircraft-type. This means that the platform will be able to undertake Defence tasks that were previously undertaken by up to five different aircraft types, streamlining our capabilities. This will improve efficiency and operational flexibility, positively impacting ongoing and future UK operational capability.

Once in service, it will provide the Armed Forces with a new medium lift aircraft capable of operating in all environments in support of a broad spectrum of Defence tasks, from warfighting to humanitarian efforts and operations around the world.

It was announced at the International Military Helicopter conference in London today that the Invitation to Negotiate has been released, meaning the three NMH candidate suppliers – Airbus Helicopters UK, Leonardo Helicopters UK and Lockheed Martin UK – will now compile their bids to be evaluated by the Ministry of Defence to determine the winning bidder.

The competition will be managed by Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) and proposals will be evaluated through 2025 when, subject to Government approvals, a contract award is anticipated.

Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge said:

The New Medium Helicopter will provide essential support to our military operations, and we’re pleased to have reached this next important stage of the programme.

The programme’s competition includes essential criteria that are key to securing vital rotary wing Operational Independence, allowing us to respond swiftly to emerging threats in a highly contested world.

The NMH competition will include essential industrial considerations, spanning design, production, manufacture and importantly, export potential. This means that the New Medium Helicopter contract will secure the vital operational independence we require, as well as investing in UK skills for the long-term and demonstrates the UK Government’s commitment to the Defence & Security Industrial Strategy.

Source UK MoD

Photo courtesy Lloyd Horgan