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UK Defence Procurement announced an order with AgustaWestland under for the Future Lynx. The contract is expected to cost in the region of £1 billion and allows for the firm provision of 70 aircraft plus options for an additional 10, of these 30 aircraft and 5 options are for the Royal Navy and the remainder for the Army. The helicopters entered service with the Army in 2012, and Navy will deploy them in 2014.
In August 2006 it was formally revealed that MoD was considering a turnkey lease of civil-owned, military-registered helicopters to replace its fleet of RN Sea Kings and RAF Pumas. The UK Defence Procurement Agency announced that it was seeking expressions of interest from industry for the potential provision, under operating lease terms, of a number of Civil Owned Military Registered (COMR) medium-sized helicopters for UK Forces together with associated training and support
services. The proposed contract period is envisaged to be 10 years.
The solution should be capable of worldwide deployment for extended periods of operation. The contractor is expected routinely to provide for approximately 23 concurrent helicopter tasks, available at any time of day and consuming up to 13,500 flying hours per annum. The DPA is also interested in exploring the possibility of extending this to include elements of our Littoral Manoeuvre capability which, if pursued, would seek to provide for an additional 18 concurrent helicopter tasks consuming up to an additional 16,000 flying hours per annum after 2011/12. Contract tenders are in excess of £400 million. However the DPA said that it also plans to explore, in parallel, options to extend the in-service life of existing Puma and Sea King helicopters which, if adopted, will mitigate requirements of the COMR services.
In addition to COMR, the MOD will continue to look for a long term solution to the "land medium-helilift portion of the Future Rotorcraft Capability programme with a decision now expected around
2013-2014. In June 2006 - at the time of the FLynx order - AgustaWestland announced the development of the 7-8 tonnes AW149 helicopter. A military derivative of the A139 is to be developed mostly in the UK but with mostly Italian government money, although some funding is expected from the UK government. The AW149 will be a smaller but cheaper alternative to the Merlin HC.3+, Sikorsky S-92, and even the NH90 - able to carry 12-15 soldiers or 3 tonnes of cargo.