10-Year Contract Valued at £15 Million
QinetiQ has signed a contract with Airbus Helicopters for the provision of four H125 helicopters for the Empire Test Pilot School (ETPS), which it manages in conjunction with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). Including aircraft modification and 10-year HCare support, the contract has an estimated value of £15 million.
The acquisition of the H125s is part of QinetiQ’s £1 billion deal with the MoD, signed in December 2016, to modernise the UK’s test aircrew training and air range capabilities. As part of the agreement, QinetiQ is investing £85 million in ETPS to reduce operating costs, enhance capabilities and drive future growth. This includes the purchase of eight new aircraft to comprehensively update and future-proof the fleet that delivers training.
Airbus Helicopters’ UK design team will upgrade the Garmin G500-equipped aircraft with, among other capabilities, a 3-axis autopilot, dedicated communications equipment and Traffic Awareness Systems. This is in addition to a Flight Test Instrumentation suite, which is used to test and evaluate aircraft design and performance – a critical part of a test pilot or flight test engineer’s training.
The aircraft are expected to enter service in early 2019.