AgustaWestland, July 21, 2015 - AgustaWestland celebrates a century of aircraft manufacturing in the UK and 100 years of supplying and supporting the UK Armed Forces, today at the Mall Galleries London, in the presence of Mauro Moretti, CEO of Finmeccanica, and the Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP, Secretary of State for Defence.
The Mall Galleries is hosting a special exhibition of paintings of Westland and AgustaWestland aircraft, which are on display as part of the Guild of Aviation Artists’ summer exhibition. This event follows celebrations held on 12 July at the Yeovil facility, with AgustaWestland CEO Daniele Romiti, attended by 13,000 people, including company employees and their families.
Speaking at the event, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon MP said: “The centenary of Westland marks 100 years of incredible contribution to Somerset, the United Kingdom and to our Armed Forces. In the First World War they supplied our nation with the famous Vickers Vimy and DeHavilland aircraft, which flew against German forces in Europe, and today they provide some the most advanced helicopters in the world, such as Merlin and Wildcat.
“Ingenuity, imagination and innovation have been the hallmarks of this Great British company, and I want to thank them for the enduring role they play in ensuring our Armed Forces have the very best equipment.”
CEO & General Manager of Finmeccanica, Mauro Moretti said: “I am delighted to be here today, celebrating one hundred years of aeronautical achievement in the UK. I greatly appreciate the continued support of the UK Government which has played such a key role throughout AgustaWestland’s history.”
AgustaWestland makes a significant contribution to the UK economy with more than 3,200 employees based at its Yeovil site, which in turn support a further 6,800 jobs in the supply chain. 75 pence in every pound the company spends goes into the wider supply chain.
A significant employer of engineering apprentices in the UK, the company actively supports education and skills development in schools and colleges with some 80 apprentices, undergraduate and postgraduates on its training programme, rated “Outstanding” by Ofsted, with some 50 more joining later this year.
Today, 100 years after building the first Short Type 184 seaplane, the Yeovil factory is at the forefront of rotorcraft technology - designing, developing and manufacturing the latest generation of rotorcraft for military and commercial applications. Yeovil is currently home to final assembly lines for the Super Lynx 300, AW159 and AW101 helicopters as well as the new generation AW189 civil helicopter, many of which are produced for export markets. It is also the main provider of helicopters to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and delivers Integrated Operational Support (IOS) and training services for the MoD’s Apache AH Mk.1, Merlin, Sea King and AW159 Wildcat helicopter fleets.
Guild of Aviation Artists: The Guild of Aviation Artists, recognised throughout the world as the premier aviation art society, was formed in 1971. It is a non-profit-making society, with the object of promoting and encouraging all forms of aviation art. The Guild’s Aviation Painting of the Year annual summer exhibition is open to the public at the Mall Galleries, London, until 26th July 2015 and includes many painted works of Westland and AgustaWestland aircraft specially created for the centenary celebration.
Graham Cooke, Chairman Guild of Aviation Artists said: "We are proud to have a long-standing relationship with AgustaWestland, and delighted to be involved in celebrating the historical occasion of the Centenary; we continue to be grateful for their generous support to the charity."