Eurocopter will fly its first upgraded Puma HC2 medium support helicopter to the UK "in the coming weeks" for final test and evaluation work at Qinetiq's Boscombe Down site in Wiltshire.
Announcing the programme development at the Farnborough air show, Eurocopter says it "has completed the initial upgrade process on three Puma helicopters, all of which are now involved in flight testing". It has also completed its first internal qualification of the upgrade to the type, "with further enhancements to its mission capabilities planned over the coming months".
A total of 22 Royal Air Force-operated Puma HC1s are being modified to the new standard, which will introduce Turbomeca Makila 1A1 engines, glass cockpit avionics, secure communications and improved self-protection equipment. The enhanced type is due to remain in operational service until 2025.