SW1 wrote: Leonardo have positioned aw149 as a modern replacement.
The only issue with the AW149 is how few countries have bought it. But the AW-189 being developed as a civilian version should alleviate those concerns to a degree.
But what needs to be done is industrial. Right now our national capability to manufacture helicopters is on its arse.
To replace Puma and Merlin we have 5 choices, 3 of which are sensible:
1) - Buy whatever wins the US FVL contest and accept that we have lost our manufacturing capability for good, but the capability proffered will be advanced.
2) - Buy an AW149, accept that capability will not be massively enhanced at any point in the next 40 years but insist on full UK production.
3) - Just buy AW-149 off the shelf and accept Yeovil shuts down as a manufacturer.
4) - Buy SH-60 variants, accept a loss of capability and loss of manufacturing and an aged platform, if its still available then.
5) - Look for a European or Collaborative equivalent to FVL with industrial benefits/production in the UK
To me there are only 2 that are acceptable 2) and 5). But we'll probably do 1) or 3)...
We should really be thinking about Chinook replacement soon as well...