AFTER a decade of hard work, a Havant-based defence company is now celebrating the final handover of a state-of-the-art helicopter to the Ministry of Defence.
Lockheed Martin, which has a base in Langstone Technology Park, Langstone Road, has been working on a £750m contract to upgrade 30 of the Merlin Mk2 helicopters for 10 years.
Now, the company has delivered the final revamped machine to the Royal Navy and MoD.
The work, which was split across Havant and bases at Yeovil and Culdrose, has helped sustain 1,000 jobs.
Bob Kramer, vice-president of Lockheed Martin UK – Integrated Systems said: ‘Merlin continues to be a world-beating maritime helicopter that is an asset critical to UK defence and that will be an integral part of the future aircraft carrier capability.
‘The success of this programme has been a result of excellent teamwork among industry and our government partners that has enabled us to consistently deliver on cost and schedule.’
The Merlin Mk2s have new radars, sonar systems, infra-red cameras.
The first was delivered in 2012. They have been used recently in migrant rescue operations in Mediterranean.