Information about RAF Helicopters - Puma HC2



Puma helicopter at RAF FAirford

Following the retirement of the last Wessex in 2003, the Puma is the oldest helicopter in RAF service.

The 'package deal' between the UK and France on helicopter collaboration dates back to February 1967.The programme covered the development of three helicopter types - the Puma, Gazelle and Lynx.

Production of the aircraft was shared between the two countries, the UK making about 20% by value of the airframe, slightly less for the engine, as well as assembling the aircraft procured for the RAF. Deliveries of the RAF Pumas started in 1971.

The Puma is powered by 2 x Turbomeca Turmo 111-C4 engines mounted side by side above the main cabin. Capable of many operational roles, Puma can carry 16 fully equipped troops, or 20 at light scales.

In the casualty evacuation role (CASEVAC), six stretchers and six sitting cases can be carried. Underslung loads of up to 3,200 kg can be transported over short distances and an infantry battalion can be moved using 34 Puma lifts.

The first of 24 upgraded Puma Mk2 aircraft entered service in 2012 with the entire fleet upgraded in early 2014. The entire upgrade package cost about 300 million including one-off costs associated with developing modifications, trials activity, provision of initial support and conversion training for aircrew and maintainers. The actual cost of modifying each helicopter was in the region of 10 million.

Pumas upgraded to HC2 standard should be able to remain in service until about 2025.

PUMA HC2 HELICOPTER Specifications

Crew 2 or 3
Capacity Up to 20 troops or 7,055lb underslung
Fuselage Length 14.06m rotors turning 18.15m
Height 4.38m
Width 3.50m
Max Speed 163mph/261kph
Empty Weight 3,615kg
Max Take-Off Weight 7,400kg
Service Ceiling 4,800m
Range 550kms
Engines 2 x Turbomeca Turmo 111C4 turbines

In service with:

33 Squadron

12 x Puma HC2

RAF Benson

230 Squadron

12 x Puma HC2

RAF Benson

All the above aircraft are under the control of the Joint Helicopter Command (JHC).