It is perhaps quite easy to forget just how long the Puma helicopter has been in service with the RAF. After over 40 years of service (since 1971) the Puma 2 or HC2 upgrade programme (Puma Life Extension Programme) will deliver 24 upgraded airframes and a range of supporting services.
The programme cost is £260m with £78m being carried out in the UK, Vector Aerospace supporting the integration of the defence aids systems for example, the balance by Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) in France and Romania.
An assessment contract was let to Eurocopter in 2007 with the upgrade contract coming a couple of years later in September 2009.
The contract was originally for 28 aircraft but this has since reduced to 24 (in 2012), from a total original fleet size of 33.
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