Airbus Helicopters conducted demonstration flights to the UK press as part of its campaign to promote the H175M as a replacement for the RAF’s SA 330E Puma.
The Royal Air Force (RAF) is pursuing the NMH (New Military Helicopter) program to find a replacement for its current fleet of 23 Westland-Aerospatiale SA 330E Puma HC2s, which are due to be decommissioned from active service in 2025. Competing in that program are Leonardo with its AW149 and Airbus Helicopters with the H175M.
— Gareth Jennings (@GarethJennings3) September 28, 2021
The Airbus proposal is based on the H175, a twin-turbine super-medium helicopter developed jointly with AVIC (China’s largest state-owned aerospace conglomerate) for SAR operations, VIP and offshore activities.
The H175M would be the militarized version, without Chinese components, that the European company offers to develop jointly with the British industry in order to meet the requirements of the NMH program.
Moreover, this new version could be exported without Chinese interference, in which case the components currently manufactured by the Asian giant would be manufactured in the United Kingdom.
According to Airbus, it is the long-term prospects of co-development and local manufacture of the H175M that would be most attractive and advantageous for UK companies and UK jobs.