Leonardo’s UK helicopter business is confident that it can capture a slice of the sustainment work for the British Army’s fleet of 50 Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, which are due to enter service from 2022.
The company performs repair and overhaul activities on the service’s current fleet of Apache AH1s, which were licence-built at its Yeovil facility.
However, with the UK Ministry of Defence acquiring 50 of the E-model Apaches via the USA’s Foreign Military Sales mechanism, there has been speculation that Leonardo would be frozen out of any valuable support contract.
Nonetheless, John Ponsonby, UK managing director for Leonardo’s helicopter division, believes it can be part of the overall sustainment effort.
“We have 20 years’ experience [supporting the current Apache fleet] and the expectation is that we will work with Boeing in the future.
“We are working closely with Boeing to reach a broad agreement on what that might look like,” he says.
Its US rival is “showing willingness” for the company to be involved once the new fleet arrives, says Ponsonby.
“We are working with Boeing UK to be the provider of choice. We have the experience – there is nobody else on shore that has that.”