Leonardo Helicopters UK will deliver the next five years of the 34-year Wildcat Integrated Support and Training (WIST) arrangement for the UK’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), the UK Ministry of Defence procurement agency.
This £360 million contract awarded last year marks the continued delivery of support services for the UK’s fleet of AW159 Wildcat helicopters to the British Armed Forces.
The renewed agreement was originally signed in 2012 and includes spares provisions, a three-year scheduled maintenance service, enhanced technical support including aircraft safety management, delivering synthetic and ground-based training for aircrew and aircraft maintainers.
UK Minister for Defence Procurement 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.”
The contract is set to sustain over 340 industry jobs, mainly in the South West of England at RNAS Yeovilton, where the Wildcat Training Centre and frontline squadrons are located, and also at Leonardo in Yeovil where the joint Leonardo/Ministry of Defence WIST project office is located.
The twin-engine AW159 helicopter is a modern, multi-role and agile platform utilized for Anti-Submarine Warfare and Anti-Surface Warfare roles around the world.
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The Wildcat is a key element of the UK’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG), providing a multi-role attack capability as it operates from the frigates and destroyers that accompany the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.
The new Martlet missile system achieved initial operating capability with a successful test firing from an embarked Wildcat HMA Mk2 in the Bay of Bengal last year.
DE&S director helicopters Keith Bethell said: “The maiden operational deployment of Carrier Strike Group emphasised once again the important role [that] Wildcat helicopters play, and will continue to play, as the UK faces emerging and evolving threats.
“The third pricing period ofWIST 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.”