29 Jan 14. Hot on the heels of the announcement last month of a massive order to supply 16 EH101 military Helicopters to Norway, the MOD has now contracted AgustaWestland to provide further long term maintenance and operational support for the fleet of British Army based Apache Helicopters plus a large contract to upgrade 25 Royal Air Force EH101 Merlin Mk3/3a helicopters that will move to the Royal Navy for use by the Commando Helicopter Force (and will eventually replace the venerable fleet of Royal Navy Sea Kings).
Valued at approximately £760m, the announcement by Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond today will secure over 1,000 highly skilled jobs at Yeovil and other associated company locations together with more across the wider supply chain. This order is yet more confirmation of UK engineering excellence.
Knowing both the company, senior management and the Yeovil site very well I know that the site engineering excellence. In both design and production engineering the company excels at what it does and for me to be able to see such extraordinary levels of change and greater efficiency achieved over a relatively short time span is something that I will not forget in a hurry.
The EH101 Merlin helicopter remains the backbone of UK medium lift capability and, as I know from personal experience, the machine performed extremely well in both Iraq and Afghanistan. EH101 remains a testament to British/Italian partnership design and the helicopter is in service with a large number of international air forces and government operations. It has a great future in my view.