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Posted on Wednesday 11th July

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond unveiled the first 2 of 62 Wildcat helicopters today, and confirmed a £250m contract to support them.

The helicopters were handed over by Somerset-based manufacturer AgustaWestland at the Farnborough International Airshow. The firm will benefit from a £250m support and training contract which should sustain 500 jobs.

The first Wildcats are Army helicopters which should come into service in 2014. The Royal Navy Wildcats will be delivered later this year and planned to come into service in 2015.

The MOD is buying 34 Army Wildcats and 28 maritime attack variants, to replace the Lynx fleet operated by the Army Air Corps and Fleet Air Arm. Both variants have more powerful engines than the Lynx, the Army Wildcat will be used in a reconnaissance role, and the maritime attack version will protect the Navy's fleet around the world.

The Defence Secretary said:

'Wildcat represents a considerable advance over the current Lynx helicopters, bringing greatly improved performance and capability. The contract to provide training and support will keep them flying wherever they are needed.

'These helicopters will be a key part of the future equipment programme for the Armed Forces that will see £160bn spent over the next ten years. By balancing the budget, we can deliver the airframes and the millions of pounds of support they require.'

Further Reading

Alan Bristow: Helicopter Pioneer

Only £25.00

Alan Bristow: Helicopter Pioneer

(Hardback - 384 pages)
by Alan Bristow

Alan Bristow, founder of Bristow Helicopters, died seven days after completing his autobiography. He was a truly remarkable man; his full-page obituary was published in The Times and The Daily Telegraph. As a merchant navy officer cadet during the war Bristow survived two sinkings, played a part in the evacuation of Rangoon and was credited with shooting down two Stukas in North Africa. He joined the Fleet Air Arm and trained as one of the… Read more...


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