QinetiQ has signed a deal for four Airbus H125
helicopters as part of its modernisation of the Empire Test
Pilots’ School (ETPS), which it manages alongside the UK’s
Ministry of Defence (MOD).
Worth approximately £15 million, the deal
will see Airbus Helicopters’ UK design team 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 contract includes aircraft
modification and 10 years’ full HCare support package.
The aircraft are expected to enter service in
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.”
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.”