Computer-generated image of the Royal Navy's Wildcat attack helicopter fitted with next-generation precision missiles [Picture: AgustaWestland]
The Royal Navy's new Wildcat helicopters are to be fitted with £90 million missiles thanks to a contract that will sustain 300 UK jobs.
The next-generation precision future anti-surface guided weapon (FASGW) (heavy) and FASGW (light) missiles will be integrated, tested and installed on 28 Wildcat helicopters by 2020. Capable of targeting small boats, fast attack craft and targets on land, each airframe is able to carry up to 20 missiles.
The FASGW programme has protected over 300 jobs across the United Kingdom and will sustain a number of additional jobs at AgustaWestland’s plant in Yeovil, Somerset, which employs over 3,000 people.
An initial £500 million investment into the highly advanced anti-ship missiles was the first new collaborative equipment project to follow the Anglo-French summit which took place at RAF Brize Norton in January.
Making the announcement at the Farnborough International Air Show today, 16 July, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne said:
FASGW state-of-the-art missiles will provide Royal Navy Wildcat helicopters with unparalleled strike capabilities. I take great pride that these missiles are being made in Britain by British experts, with more than 300 jobs sustained from Belfast to Somerset.
These missiles are also evidence of our close partnership and growing interoperability with France. This was further strengthened yesterday when the [former] Defence Secretary signed further understandings to bolster co-operation for acquisition and support of military equipment.