QinetiQ has signed a deal, on March 1, 2017, for four Airbus H125 helicopters as part of its modernization of the Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS), which it manages alongside the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD).
Worth approximately £15m (US$18.5m), the deal will see Airbus Helicopters’ UK design team upgrade the Garmin G500-equipped aircraft with, among other capabilities, a three-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 a 10-year support package, helping to deliver full availability. The aircraft are expected to enter service in early 2019.
March 1, 2017