We use cookies to ensure our website operates correctly and to monitor visits to our site. This helps us to improve the way our website works, ensuring that users easily find what they are looking for. To allow us to keep doing this, click 'Accept All Cookies'. Alternatively, you can personalise your cookie settings.

Accept All Cookies Personalise settings


Flagship ‘Papa’ acceptance the latest milestone in phase 1 of the Rotary Wing Fleet Review (RWFR) Project


Papa arrival banner

We’re pleased to announce that our third and final helicopter - a Leonardo AW139 registered as G-ETPP ‘Papa’, has now been accepted. This latest confirmation follows off the back of the ‘November’ and ‘Oscar’ acquisitions and represents the final milestone in phase one of the Rotary Wing Fleet Review Investment.

The move once more reaffirms QinetiQ’s intention to continually improve and modernise Training, Test and Evaluation (TT&E) in ensuring our capabilities meet the demands of frontline training requirements.

Featuring a comprehensive suite of mission systems, including an EO/IR turret, Rescue Hoist, Searchlights, Cargo Hook and Radar, the AW139 is the new flagship of the Rotary Wing (RW) fleet and is widely seen as the long-term replacement for the Sea King which retired several years ago. The systems-rich nature of the AW139 gives the QCFO and ETPS an asset that truly represents modern ‘heavy’ helicopters and opens new avenues for investment and capability development in both the Global Test & Evaluation and Mission Rehearsal & Training campaigns. 

With both A109S’ now in service across QinetiQ, minds are now focused on the introduction to service of the AW139. The QinetiQ and Castle Air team at MOD Boscombe Down are under no illusions that the introduction to service of this latest helicopter will require a lot of work, including aircrew training, the establishment of maintenance facilities and operational readiness approval.

The process of acceptance for ‘Papa’ lasted several days, as the team worked in collaboration with our Castle Air colleagues at Biggin Hill. Donald Lundie (Senior Project Manager) remarked, “This partnership has been a fruitful one throughout this latest period of fleet investment, with special thanks to all those involved."

Due to arrive at MOD Boscombe Down next week, the AW139 will be the first helicopter to enter the 2nd phase of the RW Fleet Review programme with the commencement of the design of a new Flight Test Instrumentation solution with QinetiQ’s AEC team. The team will be trialling a new, more agile, way of working. This approach means the team can immediately start realising value when the aircraft arrives, whilst they wait on the training of aircrew, establishment of the base and operational readiness approval.

In anticipation that everything goes like clockwork, the AW139 should be flying in the skies over Wiltshire in late summer.