Sea King support

Rolls-Royce has been awarded £258m by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to support the UK’s fleet of Royal Navy and Royal Air Force Sea King helicopters.

The agreement will run for 10 years, during which Rolls-Royce will provide guaranteed delivery of the Gnome turboshaft engines for the Sea King fleet as well as delivery, overhaul and supply of spares.

According to the MoD, the contract will improve helicopter support in Afghanistan and provide an average of 20 per cent more flying hours compared to engine performance delivered by previous contract arrangements. The MoD hopes that this will save it approximately £70m over the life of the contract.

Management of the contract will be undertaken at the MoD’s Defence Equipment and Support site at Yeovilton, Somerset and the Rolls-Royce Operations Centre in Bristol. Main repair and overhaul work will be undertaken at Rolls-Royce facilities in Ansty and Germany.

Quentin Davies, minister for defence equipment and support, said: ‘The Sea Kings are an integral part of the UK Support Helicopter Force and are delivering a sterling effort in current operations in Afghanistan as well as in its high-profile Search and Rescue tasks within the UK. This support contract will help to ensure that the aircraft is always available to carry out the crucial roles with which it is tasked.’

Separately, Rolls-Royce has signed an agreement with Goodrich Corporation, a global supplier of systems and services to aerospace, to form a joint venture in the development and supply of engine controls for Rolls-Royce aero engines.

Each company will own a 50 per cent share of the venture, which will operate as Aero Engine Controls with Goodrich retaining the aftermarket products and services business associated with the venture’s products. The deal is scheduled for completion at the end of this month.