27 Jul 2017

Wildcat helicopter production to stay in the UK

Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin has announced that work on the AW159 Wildcat helicopter produced by Leonardo Helicopters in Yeovil will continue in the UK.

The possibility of relocating the fabrication work for future AW159 helicopter orders overseas had been considered but following analysis from the MoD, Leonardo Helicopters has confirmed that all future fabrication of the AW159 helicopter will remain in the UK.

Most of the work will take place at the company’s Somerset facility, which will safeguard 40 highly skilled jobs across the UK-based supply chain.

The Royal Navy’s maritime Wildcat forms the core of the UK’s Frigate and Destroyer aviation capability and performs tasks including Anti-Surface and Submarine Warfare, force protection, transport and the vital information, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) role. Similarly, the Army variant performs reconnaissance, command and control, force protection, and transport roles in a wide variety of environments.

Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said: “I am delighted that a solution for UK-based fabrication for the AW159 helicopter has been identified between the MOD and Leonardo Helicopters. An agreement that secures Yeovil as the home of AW159 and Wildcat production and maintenance in the UK.

“This work has not only helped sustain 40 of highly skilled jobs within the UK, but will act as a positive boost for the company and, through improved cost-effectiveness, their export customers. I would also like to pay tribute to Marcus Fysh MP, who has worked tirelessly to secure this great result.”

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