UK signs new support deals for Gazelle, Puma and Sea King helicopters

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Rolls-Royce has secured a new, 10-year contract to support the Gnome engines which power the UK Ministry of Defence's Westland Sea King transport, surveillance and search and rescue helicopters.

Worth £258 million ($380 million), the availability-based deal will support a total of 96 Sea Kings currently in service with the UK Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, says R-R.

 
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"Rolls-Royce will undertake all aspects of engine support, including the provision of replacement engines to meet customer demands, and technical support both at operating locations and from the Rolls-Royce Operations Centre in Bristol," the company says. Main repair and overhaul work will be undertaken at its facilities in Ansty in the West Midlands, and in Germany.

"This innovative contract offers quantifiable benefits in both financial and availability terms for the Sea King fleet," says Pete Worrall, director general helicopters for the UK Defence Equipment and Support organisation. Martin Fausset, managing director of Rolls-Royce Defence Aerospace, notes: "We can now provide the front line customer a higher level of availability for operations at a guaranteed price."

 
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Meanwhile, Eurocopter has received a contract to provide through-life support services for the RAF's SA330/Puma HC1 transports (above) and the British Army's Gazelle AH1 observation helicopters until March 2013, with its deal replacing four previous arrangements. The company also expects to sign a service life-extension deal in 2009 to upgrade some of the RAF's Puma fleet to an enhanced HC2 configuration.