£1bn helicopter deal safeguards over 3,000 jobs

AgustaWestland has signed a £1bn contract to supply 16 helicopters plus support and training to the Norwegian government, a deal that safeguards over 3,000 jobs in the UK.

The AW101 helicopters will be assembled at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility with the involvement of many of the company’s other plants.

The contract will help safeguard jobs at AgustaWestland and in the supply chain, which includes many small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the South West and throughout the UK.

SMEs in line to benefit from this high value contract include radar systems supplier, APPH, Somerset based rotor track and balance equipment company, SEA of Frome, and component manufacturer, Tods of Crewkerne.

The contract for the All Weather Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopters was signed at the end of a selection process that took into account technical features, risks and costs evaluations.

Deliveries of the All Weather Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopters to the Royal Norwegian Air Force will start in 2017 and continue through to 2020.

The aircraft will be equipped with an advanced SAR equipment package including a 360 degree electronic scan multi-array radar, a digital Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS), two rescue hoists, a searchlight, an electro optical device and a fully integrated avionics and mission system.

In a statement Daniele Romiti, AgustaWestland’s CEO, said: ‘We are delighted that the AW101 has been awarded the Norwegian All Weather SAR Helicopter contract following a very detailed evaluation process of all the alternatives.

‘The new generation AW101 will bring new capabilities and is a worthy successor to the AgustaWestland Sea King which has successfully served Norway for more than 40 years.’