Westland Apache Production Facility Opens at Yeovil
A new production facility for the WAH-64 Apache was opened by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean at the Westland Helicopters factory in Yeovil, Somerset
GKN Aerospace, January 14, 2000 - Yeovil, UK - A new production facility for the WAH-64 Apache was opened today at the GKN Westland Helicopters site in Yeovil, Somerset.
The new facility, costing some ,2 million, was officially opened by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, Minister of State for Defence Procurement.
Unveiling a plaque to mark the occasion, Baroness Symons said: "This new facility, designed to deliver a complete capability in prime contracting, will shortly provide the British Army with the world s most advanced attack helicopter." She told an audience of employees and representatives from the Ministry of Defence: "It will enable GKN Westland Helicopters to continue to meet or surpass all milestones in this important programme."
During her visit, Baroness Symons toured other GKN Westland facilities and was briefed on the company s current and forward prospects, including the forthcoming merger with Agusta of Italy, GKN Westland s partner on the EH101 medium lift helicopter.
The new WAH-64 Apache production facility has been completed on schedule and to budget during a ten month programme. The assembly area, covering 5200 square metres, employs the latest advances in building technology as well as featuring innovative energy efficiency measures. The open plan design allows for flexibility and easier movement of aircraft without traditional columns. The four storey office and laboratory complex will accommodate over 170 employees.
Richard Case, Managing Director of GKN Westland Helicopters, said: "We are fully aware of the importance to the British Army of completing this key programme to time and to budget. Our investment in this new facility reflects our total commitment to ensuring that the programme continues to meet or beat all its milestones."
GKN Westland Helicopters, as prime contractor, was awarded a contract valued at more than $2 billion to supply 67 WAH-64 Apache helicopters to the UK Ministry of Defence in 1996. The first eight UK Apaches are being built by Boeing at their Mesa, Arizona factory. The remaining 59 will be delivered to the new Apache assembly hall as part fuselages for completion and final inspection and test by GKN Westland. The first two fuselages have already arrived, ahead of schedule.
The first WAH-64 Apache for the Army Air Corps, due to be delivered in March 2000, was transferred to Yeovil from Boeing one hundred days ahead of schedule. This coincided with the completion of the WAH-64 Apache Logistic and Maintainability Demonstration (LD/MD), conducted by the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, which was undertaken to prove the validity of maintenance procedures and manuals.