£760m deal for AgustaWestland: MoD contracts boost 1,000 helicopter jobs to future-proof Merlin and Apache helicopter fleets
Wednesday 29 January 2014
Helicopter-maker AgustaWestland has been awarded two Ministry of Defence contracts worth £760 million which will secure more than 1,000 jobs in the UK.
The aim is to future-proof two fleets of military helicopters - the Merlins and Apaches.
On a visit to the Yeovil-based company, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond told BBC Breakfast News: "This is a great news story for British engineering.
"It sustains 1,000 high-skilled jobs in the UK economy and ensures the armed forces have the support they need in the helicopter fleet.
"What we have to do is to make sure that we have here in the UK the capabilities we need to sustain our armed forces and to sustain the skills in the industry that keep us competitive in the future."
The deal includes £430 million to provide maintenance and support for the Army's Apache attack helicopter, used on operations in Afghanistan, for the next five years.
There is also £330 million to upgrade the RAF's Merlin Mk3/3a helicopters for use by the Royal Navy's Commando Helicopter Force.
RAF Merlin helicopters AgustaWestland will be working on the project at its sites in Yeovil, Suffolk and Hampshire.
This gives backing to up to 537 jobs in the company while another 500 will be protected in the supply chain at GE Aviation in Cheltenham, General Dynamics in East Sussex, Selex ES in Luton, and APPH Aviation Services in Cheshire.
The 25 upgraded Merlin helicopters are to replace the Sea King Mk 4 helicopters, which go out of service in 2016. New glass cockpits and avionics, a folding main rotorhead and tail, and improved undercarriage are to be fitted.
The Merlins will be used to transport Royal Marines, vital supplies and cargo from sea to land.
The Apache contract will provide operational support for the helicopters for the next five years.
Yeovil MP David Laws described the deal as an "important contract" and "a boost for our local economy and good news for the rest of the UK".
- 1 VMAs 2015: Was Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus' awkward acceptance put-down real or staged?
- 3 Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
- 4 Chaos breaks out in courtroom as father attacks killer of three-year-old daughter
- 5 I like Corbyn, but let's face it: we don't need another white man at the head of a political party
VMAs 2015: Was Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus' awkward acceptance put-down real or staged?
Bank Holiday Monday opening times: Are Tesco, Asda and other supermarkets open today?
Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
The nine most warmongering countries in the world revealed
Isis releases graphic video showing four Shia 'spies' being burned alive in Anbar, Iraq
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...