Minister Visits Puma 2
In October the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology paid a visit to RAF Benson to view the progress of the Puma 2 upgrade programme.
Philip Dunne MP, the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, visited the Station to speak to personnel and view the progress of the upgrade programme, which has seen a significant investment to deliver a highly capable support helicopter to Defence.
The upgrade programme, which transforms 24 Puma HC Mk1 aircraft into the Puma HC Mk2, means that the helicopters benefit from new engines, giving more power and fuel efficiency, as well as a state of the art digitised glass cockpit. By October, nine aircraft had been delivered to the Puma Force, comprising 33 and 230 Squadrons based at RAF Benson, with a further 5 aircraft in depth maintenance on the Station. The Puma Force is expected to have achieved initial operating capability, which can see them deploy worldwide on operations, by the time you read this – a significant achievement.
Mr Dunne MP said: “I’m absolutely delighted to see the great progress that has been made on the Puma conversion from Mk1 to Mk2. It’s effectively a new airframe and we will be delivering 24, with initial operating capability in early 2015. The programme is well on track and we’re really pleased with the progress that has been made by so many people in getting this airframe into use. Our helicopter’s medium lift capability is vital for operations to transport our forces. You can feel the enthusiasm, both from the engineers and the aircrew, with the greater range and depth of capability in this new airframe.”