Westland lands big order from Brazil

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WESTLAND has secured a pounds 150m helicopter order from Brazil to help to tide it over until production of the EH101 accelerates in two years.

The order from the Brazilian Navy is for nine new Westland Super Lynx helicopters and the refurbishment of five Lynx aircraft currently in service.

The deal will help to plug the work gap at Westland's Yeovil plant in Somerset until production of the EH101 for the British Navy reaches full speed in 1996.

Other UK sub-contractors expected to benefit include Rolls-Royce, which manufactures Lynx engines, Racal and GEC-Ferranti.

Brazil's pounds 150m Super Lynx order comes soon after Westland's success in clinching a pounds 15m order from Norway for two Sea King search and rescue helicopters. Westland hopes to follow up its success in Brazil with an order worth about the same amount for Super Lynxes from the United Arab Emirates.

Its prospects of doing so were boosted yesterday as Malcolm Rifkind, Secretary of State for Defence, began a five-day visit to the Middle East.

His trip to Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait comes weeks after Jonathan Aitken, Defence Procurement Minister, visited the region to promote defence equipment.

Brian Newman, defence analyst at the London stockbrokers Henderson Crossthwaite, said: 'The Middle East remains the market with the highest spend and best prospects for British industry. It is encouraging that the Government is giving exporters so much support.'