THE MINISTRY of Defence said yesterday that it has awarded two contracts to helicopter maker AgustaWestland worth £760m in total, securing over 1,000 jobs in the UK.
A £430m contract will provide maintenance and support for the British Army’s Apache attack helicopter, which is currently used on operations in Afghanistan, for the next five years. Another deal, worth £330m, will upgrade the RAF’s Merlin helicopters for use by the Royal Navy.
The work will secure 537 jobs at AgustaWestland and will also protect a further 500 jobs at related companies GE Aviation, General Dynamics, Selex ES and APPH Aviation Services.
“The UK defence industry makes an important contribution to the economy, generating revenue of over £22bn each year, and its highly skilled workforce plays a crucial part in growing our economy,” said defence secretary Philip Hammond on a visit to AgustaWestland’s factory in Yeovil yesterday.
“This investment will help secure British jobs, providing security to thousands of workers and their families.”
The 25 upgraded Merlin helicopters will replace the Sea King Mk4 helicopters, which go out of service in 2016. The Merlins will be used to transport Royal Marines, vital supplies and cargo from sea to land.