£360 million Wildcat helicopter support and training programme to sustain 340 jobs in the South West

Over 340 highly skilled jobs across the South West from Leonardo in Yeovil to RNAS Yeovilton, will be sustained by the delivery of the next stage of a Wildcat helicopter support and training programme.

Roles sustained include innovative aerospace engineers and apprentices working at Leonardo in Yeovil and staff at RNAS Yeovilton, where the Wildcat Training Centre and frontline RAF squadrons are based.

This latest tranche, worth £360m, is part of the Wildcat Integrated Support and Training (WIST) programme and covers the next five-year phase of a 34-year MoD contract, originally signed back in 2012 and set to run until 2046.

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.”

At the outbreak of the pandemic, British Army AW159 Wildcat helicopters were deployed to support the UK Ministry of Defence’s efforts in tackling Covid-19, transporting essential medical staff and equipment.

It will see Leonardo’s teams work shoulder to shoulder with the MoD on the continued delivery of support services for the UK’s fleet of AW159 Wildcat helicopters to the British Armed Forces.

The WIST contract includes a spares provisioning service, a three-year scheduled maintenance service, enhanced technical support services such as aircraft safety management, as well as delivering synthetic and ground-based training for both aircrew and maintainers.

Simon Jones, VP of Customer Support and Training at Leonardo Helicopters UK, commented: “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.”

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.

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