Onshore and offshore helicopter operator Babcock has been awarded a multi-million pound contract to upgrade the fleet of EC135 helicopters belonging to UK electricity network operator Western Power Distribution (WPD).
The upgrade will include integrating new mission systems, infrared camera equipment, laser scanning devices and a reconfigured workspace into each of WPD's five aircraft.
Installing new technologies will create additional capability for each of the helicopters, which play a critical role in helping WPD deliver electricity to more than 7.8 million customers in the Midlands, south west England and Wales.
MD for Babcock Aviation Onshore Tim Shattock says: “This is great news for us and for the customers of WPD. Our design and completions team at Staverton, close to WPD's Bristol headquarters, has the skills, experience and approvals to deliver the high quality upgrades that will precisely match the requirements of this demanding customer.
“We are creating a bespoke solution that will see these aircraft perform critical tasks, helping WPD manage the service it provides through its 220,000km of overhead lines and underground cables.”
Business development director Clifton Lombard adds: “The new interiors, layout and onboard equipment will be integrated with safety and quality as the key priorities, ensuring that each crew member has access to the correct equipment so they can work together as an effective team.”
The first aircraft is due to arrive at Babcock's Staverton facility in July 2018 and the full fleet is expected to have received the upgrade and be fully operational by the end of 2019.