AgustaWestland has received a contract from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide comprehensive support and maintenance services for the national army's Apache AH Mk.1 attack helicopter fleet.
Under the £430m contract, the company will provide Apache integrated operational support (IOS) to the UK Army from April 2014 to March 2019.
Working in collaboration with industrial partners, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Longbow International and Selex ES, the company will deliver complete spares provisioning, engineering, depth maintenance, repair and overhaul and technical support services for the Apache AH Mk1 fleet.
AgustaWestland's CEO Daniele Romiti said: ''The Apache IOS contract will deliver further efficiencies over the next five years, demonstrating our commitment to service excellence while delivering the aircraft availability and capability the army air corps require.''
UK defence secretary Philip Hammond said: ''This contract also demonstrates the strength and importance of the defence industry to the UK economy and how these programmes are supporting 1,000 highly skilled, UK-based jobs whilst laying the foundations for long term growth throughout the sector via the supply chain.''
The company will continue management of the depth support unit and the associated workshops, at Wattisham Airfield, the army's main Apache operating base, to ensure that the facility's throughput matches the operational requirements of the army air corps.
In addition, AgustaWestland will continue provision of Apache aircraft on the flight line at the School of Army Aviation at Army Aviation Centre Middle Wallop, thereby delivering the required number of flight hours to match the army's training requirements.
Managed by the Apache IOS programme office, the output-based contract is expected to deliver the required levels of aircraft availability, whilst lowering through life costs, and sustaining 360 jobs at Wattisham Airfield, Army Aviation Centre Middle Wallop and AgustaWestland's Yeovil facility in UK.
A licence-built variant of the AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter, the UK Apache AH Mk.1 fleet provides protection for British and allied troops in Afghanistan.
Image: the IOS contract is expected to ensure that the Apache AH Mk.1 helicopters are able to play a key role post-Afghanistan. Photo: copyright of AgustaWestland.