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Leonardo helicopter support contract secures 340 jobs
Leonardo is to deliver the next stage of the Wildcat Integrated Support and Training (WIST) contract, which confirms the next five-year period of the 34-year contract originally signed in 2012. It will sustain over 340 industry jobs at RNAS Yeovilton, where the Wildcat training centre and frontline squadrons are located, and also at Leonardo in Yeovil, where the joint Leonardo and Ministry of Defence WIST project office is located.
The £360m contract awarded last year, as part of the WIST programme, marks the continued delivery of support services for the UK’s fleet of AW159 Wildcat helicopters. The WIST contract includes a spares provisioning service, a 3-year scheduled maintenance service, enhanced technical support services including aircraft safety management, as well as delivering synthetic and ground-based training for both aircrew and maintainers.
The twin-engine AW159 helicopter is a modern, multi-role and agile platform utilised for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) roles around the world. The platform recently surpassed 80,000 flight hours across its global fleet. To date, more than 70 AW159s in a variety of roles have been delivered to battlefield and maritime military operators around the world, including the British Army and Royal Navy.
Defence minister, Jeremy Quin, said: “Wildcat helicopters play a vital role in supporting our Armed Forces through reconnaissance, protection and transport. I am delighted they will continue to receive high-quality technical support and training from Leonardo UK.”
Simon Jones, VP of customer support and training at Leonardo Helicopters UK, said: “The next tranche of the Wildcat Integrated Support and Training (WIST) contract ensures the British Armed Forces have the right equipment, training and support to continue to meet their operational needs. Through collaboration and partnerships, WIST maintains UK rotary wing capabilities onshore through the centre’s cutting-edge technologies and a highly-skilled workforce.”
Keith Bethell, DE&S Director Helicopters, concluded: “The maiden operational deployment of Carrier Strike Group emphasised once again the important role Wildcat helicopters play, and will continue to play, as the UK faces emerging and evolving threats.
“The third pricing period of WIST will ensure the frontline personnel of the Royal Navy and British Army continue to be expertly training, supported and equipped to keep our nation and allies around the globe safe.”