A five-year, multi-million-pound deal has been secured by Yeovil-based Leonardo Helicopters to maintain its existing fleet of 50 Apache attack helicopters.
Leonardo is the largest inward investor in the UK defence sector, the largest Italian inward investor to the UK, and one of the biggest suppliers of defence equipment to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), according to the company.
The contract, awarded by the MOD, will enable the manufacturer to maintain the Apache fleet until it’s out of service date in March 2024.
The Apache MK1 is being incrementally replaced by the latest Apache AH-64E aircraft, which will begin entering service with the British Army in 2022.
The new AH-64E model will have improved sensors and avionics as well as greater performance capabilities that will enable the British Army to remain advanced in future operations.
The deal includes deep maintenance, repair and an overhaul of the MK1 aircraft as well as the provision of technical and spares support.
Last May, the MOD announced the delivery of the first Commando Merlin Mk4 helicopters designed for Royal Marine aircraft carrier operations. This saw a £388m contract supporting 175 skilled jobs in Yeovil and a further 500 across the UK supply chain.
Defence Minister Stuart Andrew said: “The Apache has provided years of crucial battlefield support to UK and coalition troops in operations in Libya and Afghanistan. This multi-million-pound contract will ensure our Armed Forces continue to benefit from this vital capability as we integrate the latest Apache model into service in 2022.”
Investment in UK manufacturing
- Production on the new Toyota Corolla model started earlier this week at the company’s Burnaston plant, following a £240m upgrade to the factory.
- UK aerospace suppliers secured more than £3.4bn in contracts, almost a third of which was achieved in 2018.
- French car parts manufacturer, SNOP, is investing £15m in its new Sunderland factory. SNOP makes components for major automotive firms, including: Peugeot, Renault, Audi, Volkswagen, and Nissan, among several other.
- Siemens opened its new £27m additive manufacturing factory in Worcester in December.
- Global malt producer Muntons, announced a £73m expansion plan to build a new peating plant, 25 miles from its facility in Bridlington, Yorkshire.