Helicopters Magazine

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Leonardo announces team members to their onshore supply chain


September 23, 2021
By Naomi Szeben


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Leonardo launched Team AW149 UK, its onshore supply chain for the AW149 helicopter.

Team AW149 UK features more than 70 companies from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The companies announced as team members are Abaco Systems, Aerco, Chelton, Ford Aerospace, Forged Solutions, Incora, LFD, RDDS Avionics and Techtest Limited.

At the DSEI 2021 exhibition in London, Leonardo has spotlighted nine of these companies, all of which are supporting the AW149 as ‘the UK choice’ for the Ministry of Defence’s New Medium Helicopter requirement. Each company provides a vital component to the AW149 military helicopter, from lights to avionics systems and other hardware and software components.

The announcement comes as Leonardo puts forward its medium multi-role AW149 helicopter for the UK’s New Medium Helicopter requirement, which will see the UK Armed Forces replacing four helicopter types including the Puma HC2 by mid-2025. The AW149 is a safe, agile and robust platform, which can be reconfigured for a wide range of demanding missions in the most severe operational environments. Should the UK choose the Leonardo AW149, the company has pledged to build the new fleet on a cutting-edge production line in Yeovil, Somerset, with between 60-70 per cent of the platform’s content and through-life support being carried out onshore in the UK at Leonardo and through UK suppliers. This would represent an investment in UK skills, design and manufacturing, supporting thousands of jobs, creating jobs across the country and helping reverse the damage to the economy caused by Covid-19.

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Leonardo also estimates a large and accessible export market for a British-made medium helicopter of over 500 aircraft. By choosing the AW149, the world-renowned UK Armed Forces would become a reference customer for the product, making the AW149 a desirable choice for global allies. This could help deliver billions of pounds worth of export sales for Leonardo with beneficial knock-on effects for its supply chain and the wider UK economy.

The Team AW149 UK members play a vital role in the latest-generation AW149. These companies form part of a network of more than 70 UK-based businesses that contribute to the existing AW149 platform. Leonardo continues to work across industry to grow its UK supply chain to meet the potential needs of the nation’s New Medium Helicopter requirement.