A RAF Puma HC1 at Royal International Air Tattoo 2009 (Image (PD) Adrian Pingstone)

Airbus secures RAF Puma future

A RAF Puma HC1 at Royal International Air Tattoo 2009 (Image (PD) Adrian Pingstone)
A RAF Puma HC1 at Royal International Air Tattoo 2009 (Image (PD) Adrian Pingstone)

Airbus Helicopters safeguarded the ongoing upgrade of the Royal Air Force fleet of 24 Puma helicopters by Romanian IAR Brașov. The European helicopter manufacturer signed a working deal with the Romanian government on 3 September 2014 for future cooperation.

Brasov is home to 170 employees working on repairs of Pumas and Super Pumas plus other contracts. In 2012 the RAF received the first of its Puma HC2 – upgraded by the Brasov plant from an SA330 Mk1 (HC1) chopper. The upgrade includes service life extension, performance enhancement, increased mission capability and operational safety improvements. The underlying deal was already signed in 2009, for 24 RAF machines.

The RAF Pumas are designed by Sud Aviation and that’s why the type designations starts with SA. The French company later became part Aérospatiale, which turned into Eurocopter and recently into Airbus Helicopters.

Romania’s IAR Brașov builds its own licensed version of the Super Puma, with more than 160 of these IAR-330 in various versions rolling of the line since it opened in 1975.

Source: Airbus Helicopters with additional reporting by Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger