£271m Wildcat Helicopter Deal for British Armed Forces
The MOD has signed a £271M deal with Leonardo Helicopters to continue to support world-leading Wildcat helicopters, protecting hundreds of highly-skilled British jobs.
The five-year deal with Leonardo will provide ‘Wildcat Integrated Support and Training’ (WIST) for the UK’s fleet of 62 AW159 Wildcat helicopters, currently being used by the Royal Navy and the Army Air Corps.
The deal will support around 500 jobs, primarily at Leonardo’s facilities in Yeovil and the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, with others in Edinburgh and Luton, and with subcontractor Thales UK in Crawley.
Wildcat is deployed on the Royal Navy’s front-line warships, including the Type 23 Frigate, Type 45 Destroyer and Type 26 Global Combat Ship. 34 Wildcats are operated by 825 and 847 Naval Air Squadron, performing Anti-Surface and Submarine Warfare tasks, as well transport, information, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaisance (ISTAR).
652 and 661 Squadron Army Air Corps use 28 Wildcats for similar ISTAR functions in the land battlespace, typically reconnaissance, command and control, and force protection.
Chief Executive Officer for the UK’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) Organisation, Tony Douglas, said:
This agreement builds on many decades of joint working between the MOD and Leonardo helicopters, recently recognised through the signature of a Strategic Partnering Arrangement with the company. The deal for Wildcat support has been designed to guarantee value for money for the taxpayer by delivering the required levels of operational output at a reduced cost.
Wildcat is a world-leading aircraft […] Advanced design and capabilities will enable it to support the Royal Navy and British Army for decades to come.