Five European nations have signed a letter of intent (LoI) to develop a medium multi-role helicopter as part of their efforts to modernise existing rotorcraft fleets.
The project, which is one of NATO ’s High Visibility Projects (HVP), was signed by representatives of France, Germany, Greece, Italy and the UK.
Most of the allied medium multi-role helicopter capabilities are slated to reach the end of their service life in the 2035-2040 period,
The project aims to deliver a next-generation rotorcraft as a potential replacement of existing capabilities by leveraging the latest technology, production methods and operational concepts.
Nato deputy secretary-general Mircea Geoană said: “By investing our resources and channelling our development initiatives through a multinational framework, we are making sure allies are equipped with the best available capabilities, which helps to maintain Nato’s technological edge.”
Subsequently, experts from all nations will work to devise statement of requirements and a multi-phase cooperation plan.
Defence ministers of the five countries are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU ) for the development of the helicopter around 2022, while the first aircraft is planned for delivery in the 2035-2040 period.
The medium multi-role helicopter will be used for different tactical operations such as insertion and extraction of special forces, transport of small and medium-sized cargo and troops, search and rescue missions and anti-submarine warfare.
The rotorcraft will also be able to perform medical evacuation and take-off or land in topographically restricted areas to improve operational flexibility.
The use of a common helicopter is also expected to boost interoperability among participating allies.