Helicopters deal safeguards UK jobs

A £1 billion contract has been signed to supply 16 helicopters to the Norwegian government, safeguarding thousands of British jobs.

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AugustaWestland has signed a one billion pound contract to supply 16 helicopters to the Norwegian government, safeguarding thousands of British jobs

A £1 billion contract has been signed to supply 16 helicopters to the Norwegian government, safeguarding thousands of British jobs.

The aircraft will be assembled at AgustaWestland's factory in Yeovil, with a 15-year training and support package included in the deal.

AgustaWestland chief executive Daniele Romiti said the firm's new generation AW101 is a "worthy successor" to its Sea King, which has served Norway for more than 40 years.

Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the deal, saying: " This £1 billion deal between AgustaWestland and the Norwegian government is testament to the first-class engineering skills we have right across the UK, while highlighting that this Government's long-term economic plan is working.

"Safeguarding over 3,000 jobs across their Yeovil plant and many more across the supply chain, this is a hugely significant order which demonstrates why drumming up jobs and investment for our country from overseas investors is crucial to rebalancing the UK economy.

"We've got our sights focused on helping more innovative British firms across the country compete in the global race and ensuring that more people share in our economic success."

Speaking at AgustaWestland's Yeovil facility today, Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "Worldwide demand for our expertise is growing and the aerospace industry is proving key to rebalancing our economy towards manufacturing.

"British aerospace is a major success story worth £24 billion to our economy each year and employing 230,000 people across the country. The Government's industrial strategy is overseeing a £2 billion investment with industry in the creation of a new Aerospace Technology Institute - to help build the leaner, greener planes of tomorrow."