22 Jun 06. The Minister for Defence Procurement, Lord Drayson, announced today that the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and AgustaWestland have signed a Strategic Partnering Arrangement (SPA). Lord Drayson also announced the award of the Future Lynx contract to AgustaWestland, the launch programme under this new Strategic Partnering Arrangement.
The signing of this SPA fulfils one of the key commitments in relation to the helicopter sector as outlined in the UK Government White Paper on Defence Industrial Strategy published on 15th December 2005. This arrangement, along with the Future Lynx contract, will ensure that the critical design engineering and knowledge of UK military demands will be retained at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility to ensure that the support of the MoDs current fleet of AgustaWestland helicopters can be effectively and efficiently sustained.
The arrangement commits both AgustaWestland and the MoD, through challenging business transformation arrangements, to deliver a number of objectives focused on schedule and cost reduction and aircraft availability improvements. The SPA also places very strong emphasis on developing an effective and co-operative working environment between the two parties, based on increased transparency, openness and respect.
The SPA is underpinned by an incentivised Business Transformation Agreement where key business improvement targets have been agreed, consistent with the objectives of the Strategic Partnering Arrangement.
On signing the SPA and Future Lynx contract, Alan Johnston, Managing Director of Military Programmes at AgustaWestland, said “This partnering arrangement marks a key step in the development of the relationship between AgustaWestland and the MoD. We understand the trust that the MoD is placing with AgustaWestland through this agreement and we are committed to meeting and exceeding their expectations. Future Lynx is the first opportunity for both parties to put this new way of working into practice. It will help secure the technology base and defence capability of the UK and is very important for AgustaWestland and its suppliers to be able to plan and invest for the future.”
The Royal Navy and the Army will receive 70 Future Lynx helicopters fitted with state of the art mission systems under a programme with a maximum value at just under £1 billion. The contract, awarded to AgustaWestland, will see the replacement of existing Army and Royal Navy Lynx helicopters with a much more capable version to deliver more capability and reduced whole life costs. The contract will support over 800 high technology jobs at AgustaWestland and within its supply base across the UK.
The new aircraft is expected to enter operational service in 2014 with the Army and in 2015 with the Royal Navy. It will embody a range of technological improvements including: configurable cockpit displays, networked enabled capability, more powerful engines, improved defensive aid systems and a new upgraded tail rotor system.
The current Lynx entered service with the Royal Navy and the Army in the mid-1970s in anti-submarine and utility roles. Since then the aircraft has taken on an increasingly wide range of roles including: anti-surface warfare, battlefield reconnaissance, casualty evacuation, airborne command post, logistical support and tactical troop transport. Future Lynx will help preserve and extend this operational capability for the Royal Navy and the Army. New technology onboard will also mean reductions to support and maintenance costs over the life of the aircraft which will stay in service for thirty years.
General Dynamics UK Limited has been awarded a contract worth more than £24m by AgustaWestland for the design, development and manufacture of an advanced Tactical Processor for the UK’s Future Lynx Programme.
Sandy Wilson, President and Managing Director, General Dynamics UK, said; “This is a strategic win for General Dynamics UK in our growing Air NEC and ISTA