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Safran renews support contract for UK MOD Merlin helicopter engines

Safran Helicopter Engines has signed a new contract with UK MOD’s Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) agency for the continued support of RTM 322 engines used on the Royal Navy’s fleet of 55 Merlin helicopters. This Single Source Qualifying Defence Contract will run for six years from 1 April 2024 with options to extend the support through to the Merlin’s Out-of-Service date of 2040.

The contract will build on the previous eleven-year support arrangement, during which Safran Helicopter Engines strong focus on reliability and parts availability saw engine availability consistently exceeding the required targets. Benefitting from an agile, output-based approach, the new arrangement will allow the service to rapidly flex in line with demand, whilst maximising engine availability and mission success.

The service will continue to be run from Safran Helicopter Engines well-equipped facility in Fareham in the UK, where the team will provide responsive engine maintenance, technical advice and logistic support to Royal Navy operational units who will also benefit from on-site Field Service Reps at Royal Naval Air Stations Yeovilton and Culdrose. This new contract is an important element to sustaining Safran’s Fareham site and its industrial capabilities: the impact extends beyond the 32 direct UK jobs supported by this contract to provide future security for over 160 UK jobs.

Keith Bethell, Director Helicopters at DE&S, said: “Over the years the Merlin has proved to be an outstandingly versatile asset to the armed forces and Safran Helicopter Engines expertise has contributed to that success through meticulous support for the RTM 322 engine. Not only does this contract secure more than 30 high skilled jobs in the UK, it also delivers confidence to those who operate our Merlin Helicopters, as well as those who rely on its support, that its engine is being looked after and maintained in the best way possible”.

Cedric Goubet, Safran Helicopter Engines CEO, said: “We are immensely proud to support the UK MOD and the missions of the Royal Navy and are delighted that the MOD trust us to be their preferred supplier for RTM 322 engine support until the Out-of-Service date of the Merlin helicopter. We are more than ever committed to the excellent levels of engine availability we have provided to the Merlin fleet during the current contract thanks to our dynamic technical and logistic support model. We are excited to continue our longstanding partnership with UK MOD and seek to build on our excellent capabilities and facilities in the UK.”