Lockheed Martin UK has been awarded a 25 year contract by AgustaWestland which will see it provide comprehensive support to the Royal Navyâ€™s fleet of Merlin Mk 1 helicopters.
Under the Integrated Merlin Operational Support (IMOS) contract, Lockheed Martin will support the Merlin Mk.1 Weapon System which includes the Merlin Avionics Systems, the Merlin Avionic Test System and the Merlin Training System at RNAS Culdrose.
The support will help optimise the world-beating Royal Navy Merlin Mk.1 fleetâ€™s operational serviceability and availability in support of front line operations. Lockheed Martinâ€™s involvement will be exclusively on the Merlin Mk 1 fleet.
Adam Ingram, Minister for the Armed Forces, said: â€œUntil now MoD has operated separate support systems for the two different types of Merlin aircraft. This was the best approach when introducing both helicopters into service, but not the optimum way to manage support in the long-term.
â€œThis new contract will incentivise industry to increase the availability of Merlin helicopters to the Front Line Commands, while saving the MoD and UK taxpayers around Â£1bn in support costs over the next 25 years. These arrangements will also sustain up to 1,200 jobs, many of which are at AgustaWestland in Yeovil.
â€œThis through-life approach to supporting operations is a good example of MoDâ€™s recently announced Defence Industrial Strategy in action.â€
By bringing together a team from industry, the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force and the MoD at RNAS Culdrose â€“ the main Merlin Mk1 operating base â€“ IMOS will reduce response times and improve system availability by having experts on-site to deal with technical queries and issues. The team at RNAS Culdrose will be able to reach back to a centralised team of experts at AgustaWestlandâ€™s UK site in Yeovil to provide a comprehensive support solution.
Is there a reason that Westland's can't support their product? Lockheed get the contract? Does that mean we'll see RR engines in the JSF after all? :roll: