Qinetiq signs deal to acquire and modernise four H125s

Multinational defence technology company Qinetiq has signed a deal to acquire and modify four H125s with Airbus to modernise its Empire Test Pilot’s School (ETPS) fleet.

The deal worth approximately £15 million ($18.5 million) will see the helicopters upgraded to feature a 3-axis autopilot, dedicated communications equipment and traffic awareness systems.

The ETPS is co-owned by Qinetiq and the MOD. The order is a part of Qinetiq’s £1 billion ($1.23 billion) deal with the MOD to modernise the UK test aircrew training and air range capabilities.

A flight test instrumentation suite will also be fitted to test and evaluate the design and performance of the aircraft.

John Anderson, managing director air & space, QinetiQ said: “We and the MOD are investing £85m in ETPS under our strategy to modernise the UK’s Test Aircrew Training capability. Assembling a fleet that provides the very best value and performance is vital to this strategy and the H125 will play a leading role. It’s an exciting time at ETPS, not just for us, but for our customers, who can look forward to improved programmes, delivered in more flexible way, using cutting edge aircraft.”

The contract will provide 10 years of full HCare support and the aircraft are expected to enter operation in 2019.

Colin James, UK managing director, Airbus Helicopters said: “As one of the world’s ‘Big Four’ test pilot schools, it is hugely encouraging to think that for many years to come, all ETPS helicopter test pilots and flight test engineers will train on Airbus aircraft.  With this deal Airbus Helicopters is committed to providing long-term support to help make future ETPS helicopter training a success.”

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