Leonardo has launched Team AW149 U.K., its onshore supply chain for the AW149 helicopter. Featuring more than 70 companies from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Leonardo’s AW149 supply chain represents a cross-section of the best in British engineering and manufacturing.
At DSEI 2021, Leonardo spotlighted nine of these companies, all of which are supporting the AW149 as ‘the U.K. choice’ for the Ministry of Defense’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.
Team AW149 U.K. consists of Abaco Systems, Aerco, Chelton, Ford Aerospace, Forged Solutions, Incora, LFD, RDDS Avionics and Techtest Limited.
The announcement comes as Leonardo puts forward its medium multi-role AW149 helicopter for the U.K.’s New Medium Helicopter requirement, which will see the U.K. Armed Forces replacing four helicopter types including the Puma HC2 by mid-2025.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity […] to introduce Team AW149 U.K. and highlight some of the leading small and medium-sized British companies who will be involved in delivering the AW149 for the U.K. Armed Forces should we be selected,” Nick Whitney, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters (U.K.), said.
“The companies we’re spotlighting […] are diverse in what they do and where they’re located but they and we at Leonardo have one important thing in common, which is a commitment to providing the U.K. Armed Forces with the most modern, capable and cost-effective medium helicopter to meet their operational needs.”
The AW149 is a safe, agile and robust platform, which can be reconfigured for a wide range of demanding missions in severe operational environments. Should the U.K. choose the Leonardo AW149, the company has pledged to build the new fleet on a production line in Yeovil, Somerset, with between 60-70% of the platform’s content and through-life support being carried out onshore in the U.K. at Leonardo and through U.K. suppliers. This would represent an investment in U.K. skills, design and manufacturing, supporting and creating jobs across the country and helping reverse the damage to the economy caused by Covid-19.
Leonardo also estimates a large and accessible export market for a British-made medium helicopter of over 500 aircraft. By choosing the AW149, the U.K. 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 U.K. economy.