The UK MoD has awarded several contracts to AgustaWestland totalling £760m (A$1.24bn) for the maintenance, conversion and upgrade of its Apache AH1 attack helicopters and Merlin transport helicopters.
The Apache force Integrated Operational Support (IOS) contract will see AW provide support and maintenance services to the UK’s Apache fleet from April 1 2014 to March 31 2019, comprising spares provisioning, engineering, depth maintenance, repair & overhaul and technical support services.
With the transfer of the RAF’s Merlin Mk3 helicopters to the Royal Navy, AW will conduct the Merlin Life Sustainment Programme (MLSP) to convert these aircraft to a Mk4 and Mk4A standard for maritime operations. These aircraft will replace the Sea King Mk4 ‘Junglies’ in the RN’s commando helicopter force fleet. The Mk4 conversion work comprises an initial Phase 1 upgrade on seven machines which will add lashing points, a powered folding main rotor head, undercarriage modifications and additional communications equipment so that an initial IOC can be achieved by the end of 2016.
Phase 2 of the MLSP will see all 25 aircraft receive automatic main rotor blade folding and tail folding, and a new cockpit configuration that will be common with the RN’s recently upgraded Merlin Mk.2 aircraft.