Defence company QinetiQ has signed a £15 million contract covering four Airbus H125 helicopters for the Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS) as part of the school’s modernisation. Based at Oxford- Kidlington Airport, Airbus Helicopters UK will undertake a modification programme for each of the new helicopters involving installation of a three-axis autopilot, dedicated communications equipment, traffic awareness systems, and a suite of flight test instrumentation.
In December 2016, QinetiQ and the UK Ministry of Defence signed an agreement valued at a whopping £1 billion to modernise the UK’s test aircrew training and air range capabilities.
According to QinetiQ, the company will invest £85 million in the ETPS to “reduce operating costs, enhance capabilities and drive future growth, including purchase of eight new aircraft to comprehensively update the ETPS fleet.”
The H125s are expected to enter service in early 2019.