UK aircraft manufacturer AgustaWestland has signed a £1bn contract to supply 16 rescue helicopters to the Norwegian government.
The aircraft will be assembled at AgustaWestland's factory in Yeovil. The deal also includes a 15-year training and support package.
According to Daniele Romiti, the chief executive of the Finmeccanica-owned AugustaWestland, the company’s new generation AW101 is a "worthy successor" to its Sea King, which has served Norway for more than 40 years.
“We are delighted that the AW101 has been awarded the Norwegian All Weather SAR Helicopter contract following a very detailed evaluation process of all the alternatives,” he said.
Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the deal, saying: "This £1bn 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.”
He further highlighted the deal will safeguard over 3,000 jobs across their Yeovil plant and many more across the supply chain.
Speaking at AgustaWestland's Yeovil facility, Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "British aerospace is a major success story worth £24bn to our economy each year and employing 230,000 people across the country. The Government's industrial strategy is overseeing a £2bn investment with industry in the creation of a new Aerospace Technology Institute - to help build the leaner, greener planes of tomorrow."