Farnborough Air Show

UK Defense Minister Welcomes First Wildcat

 - July 11, 2012, 6:35 PM

UK Defense Secretary Philip Hammond, MP, joined celebrations marking the first deliveries of the AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat helicopter to the British Army here at the show yesterday. He simultaneously confirmed a contract worth approximately $388 million for training and support. The AW159 is to remain in service until 2044.

The Army accepted the first Wildcat in April and, since then the airframer has delivered four more. The Royal Navy will start receiving its own Lynx successors later this year. Deliveries are to go on until 2016. AgustaWestland is now producing the 16th aircraft, CEO Bruno Spagnolini said.

“Initial operating capability” with the Army is scheduled for 2014. The Navy is to follow suit in 2015. As for exports, Spagnolini noted the potential among the six delegations attending the ceremony.


Would you write an article on Staverton Airport in Gloucester. It makes so much sense that we should have an international airport here - planes can come straight up the Severn Valley and not disturb anyone. Our tourists at the moment have to spend hours on coaches to get here. We have so many links with aviation - Messieurs Dowty, Bomber Harris born in Cheltenham, the first jet engine being tested at Staverton.

There is loads of space, a good road network and they wouldn't come across much opposition because we already have the M5 coming right through here, we are not on the Cotswold escarpment so would not affect that lot, and there are already loads of pleasure helicopter flights buzzing around.

We are a practical lot here in Gloucester Valley and would rather have jobs for our families.

What do you think?