Opportunities for collaborative investment in light and medium-weight multirole helicopters

Silhouette of helicopter with soldiers conducting rescue operation

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European armed forces have made extensive use of helicopters over the years in various types of missions and operations. Despite this, consistent shortfalls in the availability and employability of multirole helicopters in operations have been recognised for nearly a decade. While air mobility has been identified by the EU member states as one of the 2018 EU Capability Development Priorities, national helicopter fleets across the EU are ageing and in need of replacement or upgrading.

The interest of European countries to improve their air capabilities are reflected in their national defence plans and in the information provided in the European Defence Agency’s (EDA) Collaborative Database (CODABA). CODABA is a tool through which the EDA’s participating member states (pMS) and partner nations share their defence capability development plans and programmes, in order to identify cooperation opportunities to make more efficient use of resources.

A number of pMS have shown an interest, and planned investments in, the acquisition and modernisation of multirole helicopters. As the acquisition, maintenance and support of helicopters remains a costly endeavour, it is important to understand the scope for collaboration between European states on helicopter programmes, in order to inform more efficient use of resources while fulfilling capability requirements.


The EDA commissioned RAND Europe to conduct a study on collaboration opportunities in multirole helicopters. The analysis will examine the potential value of cooperation in light-weight and medium-weight multirole helicopter programmes, including their development, acquisition, operation, and support aspects. The study will complement the screening phase of potential future collaboration opportunities carried out by the EDA.


The project will use a range of methodologies, including:

  • A literature review
  • Quantitative modelling
  • Key informant interviews
  • Workshops