The UK Ministry of Defence has officially signed a £90 million ($154 million) deal with AgustaWestland to integrate two new missile types on the Royal Navy’s future Wildcat helicopters.

Through the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW) programm the RN is to receive the Thales-built light and MBDA-developed heavy variants for use on its 28 ordered maritime rotorcraft.

Phillip Dunne, minister for defence equipment, support and technology, signed the deal with the Anglo-Italian airframer during Farnborough, and says the capability is required to enhance operational capability. In addition it will create jobs within the UK, he says.

“I’d like to thank everybody involved in the integration of this onto the Wildcat,” Dunne says. “The capability this provides to the Wildcat in innovative and game-changing.”

Dunne said the missiles will be flight tested aboard the aircraft in the 2018-2019 timeframe, ready for deployment by 2020. Work will be carried out at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil, Somerset, UK facility.

Utilising missiles developed by the two French companies, the programme serves to enhance the relationship with the French government, plus leads on from the Anglo-French summit in January, during which both nations pledged to cooperate more on defence acquisitions.

“It is another significant step in the relationship with our French friends,” Dunne adds.

The heavy variant will also be used on-board the French navy’s NH Industries NH90 helicopters, and potentially its Airbus Helicopters AS565 Panthers.

Source: Flight Daily News