UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, December 19, 2013 - Prime Minister David Cameron and Business Secretary Vince Cable have welcomed the announcement that UK helicopter company, AgustaWestland, has signed a £1 billion contract to supply 16 helicopters plus support and training to the Norwegian government.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“This £1 billion deal between AgustaWestland and the Norwegian government is testament to the first class engineering skills we have right across the UK, while highlighting that this government’s long-term economic plan is working.
“Safeguarding over 3000 jobs across their Yeovil plant and many more across the SME supply chain, this is a hugely significant order which demonstrates why drumming up jobs and investment for our country from overseas investors is crucial to rebalancing the UK economy.
“We’ve got our sights focused on helping more innovative British firms across the country compete in the global race and ensuring that more people share in our economic success.”
Speaking at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility today, Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
“In the run up to Christmas this £1 billion Search and Rescue helicopter deal helps to safeguard over 3,000 jobs at AgustaWestland and in the supply chain. It also further cements Britain’s reputation as a world leader in the aviation sector. Worldwide demand for our expertise is growing and the aerospace industry is proving key to rebalancing our economy towards manufacturing.
"British aerospace is a major success story worth £24 billion to our economy each year and employing 230,000 people across the country. The government’s industrial strategy is overseeing a £2 billion investment with industry in the creation of a new Aerospace Technology Institute - to help build the leaner, greener planes of tomorrow."
The AW101 helicopters will be assembled at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility in the UK with the involvement of many of the company’s other plants. The contract will help safeguard over 3,000 jobs at AgustaWestland and in the supply chain, which includes many small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the South West and throughout the UK. SMEs in line to benefit from this high value contract include radar systems supplier, APPH, Somerset based rotor track and balance equipment company, SEA of Frome, and component manufacturer, Tods of Crewkerne.
The contract for the All Weather Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopters was signed at the end of a meticulous selection process that took into account technical features, risks and costs evaluations. Aircraft deliveries to the Royal Norwegian Air Force, who will fly and operate the helicopters, will start in 2017 and continue through to 2020.
A signing ceremony was held in Oslo today attended by Anders Anundsen, Norway’s Minister of Justice and Public Security, and Daniele Romiti, CEO of AgustaWestland. UKTI’s Defence and Security Organisation in London and the British Embassy in Oslo have supported AgustaWestland throughout the campaign.
Daniele Romiti, AgustaWestland’s CEO, said:
“We are delighted that the AW101 has been awarded the Norwegian All Weather SAR Helicopter contract following a very detailed evaluation process of all the alternatives. The new generation AW101 will bring new capabilities and is a worthy successor to the AgustaWestland Sea King which has successfully served Norway for more than 40 years.
“The AW101 is recognised around the world as the most capable and advanced helicopter in its class and has proven its outstanding all weather and long range SAR abilities in service with the Royal Canadian Armed Forces, Royal Danish Air Force and Portuguese Air Force. Furthermore, the success reaffirms AgustaWestland’s excellence as a provider of advanced rotorcraft and comprehensive support solutions.”
Norway has chosen a state of the art SAR helicopter that is already operated by a number of countries including Canada, Denmark and Portugal. The AW101 is ideal for the Norwegian SAR requirement with its long range and associated endurance, a large cabin, and proven ability to operate in hostile climatic conditions.
The aircraft will be equipped with an advanced SAR equipment package including a 360 degree electronic scan multi-array radar, a digital Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS), two rescue hoists, a searchlight, an electro optical device and a fully integrated avionics and mission system.
Notes to editors:
1. AgustaWestland will provide initial support and training services, including spares at each of the operating bases and aircrew training. It will then provide performance based logistical support to deliver more than 90,000 flying hours across the fleet of 16 helicopters over the initial 15 year period. In support of pilot training a full flight simulator will be available in Norway in 2016 in advance of the delivery of the first aircraft.
2. AgustaWestland has partnered with Norwegian company AIM Aviation to provide maintenance services at the Royal Norwegian Air Force’s operating bases and with Kongsberg Defence Systems to provide helicopter transmission repair and overhaul services.
3. As part of the AgustaWestland contract, a 15 year “turnkey” support solution will be delivered, comprising spares and technical support and training services, with an option for it to be extended for a further five years.
4. The AW101 continues to lead its class as the world’s most advanced and capable search and rescue helicopter available today featuring a large cabin, over 1,300km range, high cruise speed, all weather operating capability, high reliability and safety - including a proven 30-minute “run dry” gearbox. Its cabin can accommodate 30-plus survivors, SAR equipment and crew, and the cabin can easily be reconfigured to meet specific mission requirements including for Special Police Operations.
5. The AW101 is a 16-tonne ultra long range helicopter which is in service worldwide for a wide range of missions including SAR, transport, utility and naval missions. For more information please visit www.agustawestland.com
6. The helicopters will be used for all types of SAR missions, both overland and over water, day and night in all types of weather conditions. The helicopters could be called out to rescue a lone climber on a mountain, a fishing trawler crew out to sea or to help evacuate an oil rig in an emergency.
7. AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is a technology leader in its markets and has an unrivalled range of rotorcraft designed to satisfy the requirements of commercial and military customers. AgustaWestland also provides leading support and training solutions to its growing customer base and has its main operations in Italy, the UK, Poland and the USA.
8. Norway is the UK’s 21st largest export market and was worth £6.61 billion in 2012 (goods and services), an increase of 7.7% on 2011.
9. The UK is Norway’s fifth largest import market with a market share of 6.1%, behind Sweden (13.6%), Germany (12.4%), China (9.3%) and Denmark (6.3%) in 2012. However, the UK is Norway’s largest export market, mainly due to gas imports.
10. In the 2012 Autumn Statement, UKTI was awarded an additional £70m for each of 2013/14 and 2014/15, enabling the recruitment of more international trade advisers around the country, expansion of existing services including the Trade Access Programme (TAP) and the Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS), and support to expand the range of assistance available to UK companies through overseas British chambers of commerce.
11. The government's economic policy objective is to achieve 'strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries.' It set 4 ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:
- to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
- to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
- to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
- to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.
Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.
12. UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. We also help overseas companies bring their high quality investment to the UK’s economy – acknowledged as Europe’s best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. We provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage.