MoD: Gosport MP champions Black Hawk helicopters deal bid by Lockheed Martin UK to bring defence jobs to town

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A bid to bring high-skilled defence and engineering jobs to Gosport is being championed in parliament.

Conservative MP Dame Caroline Dinenage spoke in parliament yesterday (February 19) and spoke of her constituency's suitability for a programme to build helicopters. Global aerospace company Lockheed Martin UK, based in Havant, has joined forces with StandardAero - a maintenance, repair and overhaul company based in Fareham Road, Gosport. The companies have bid to build Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, new aircraft which would replace the UK's mixed medium helicopter fleet. It is part of the Ministry of Defence's (MoD) medium helicopter requirement scheme.

The European-built Black Hawk helicopter. Lockheed Martin has outlined its team of UK partners and the benefits of choosing the Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopter to replace the UK’s aging mixed medium helicopter fleet. Photo: Lockheed MartinThe European-built Black Hawk helicopter. Lockheed Martin has outlined its team of UK partners and the benefits of choosing the Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopter to replace the UK’s aging mixed medium helicopter fleet. Photo: Lockheed Martin
The European-built Black Hawk helicopter. Lockheed Martin has outlined its team of UK partners and the benefits of choosing the Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopter to replace the UK’s aging mixed medium helicopter fleet. Photo: Lockheed Martin

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage. Picture: Richard TownshendGosport MP Caroline Dinenage. Picture: Richard Townshend
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage. Picture: Richard Townshend

Currently, Fleetlands Heliport is home to projects including the maintenance of Chinook, Lynx and Sea King aircraft. Ms Dinenage approached the minister of defence procurement, James Cartlidge, about the bid. She said: "Fleetlands in Gosport has been the home of military helicopter maintenance for more than 65 years. This highly skilled engineering work is really key to levelling up the area, providing much-needed jobs and opportunities. Does the Minister agree that the MOD’s Rotary Wing Enterprise and New Medium Helicopter Programme would benefit greatly from these generations of expertise and skills right there in Gosport?"

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Mr Cartlidge said: "“I know from my recent visit that my Right hon. Friend is a champion not only for defence in her constituency, but for defence jobs in particular. She is right about StandardAero Fleetlands, which is a valued actor in the maintenance of our rotary wing platforms. The Rotary Wing Enterprise is due to enter its detailed design this year. As part of that, it will consider wider social value, including the extent to which economic prosperity is supported. But as this is a specific potential procurement, I cannot comment any further. I also cannot comment on the role of particular companies in the new medium helicopter programme, but we hope to say more on that very soon.”

The contract would see 175 new jobs be brought to Gosport in a programme which is expected to last 45 years. The Rotary Wing Enterprise and New Medium Helicopter Programmes are initiatives being driven by the British military to make more aircraft available to them.

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