Lockheed Martin announced its intention to participate in the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) New Medium Helicopter (NMH) requirement at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition where the company outlined its team of UK partners and the benefits of choosing the Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopter to replace the UK’s ageing mixed medium helicopter fleet.
Lockheed Martin also set out its plan to collaborate with those UK partners to create a multitude of opportunities for UK industry, including jobs and opportunities in export, manufacturing and future technology development.
On announcing Lockheed Martin UK’s proposal, Chief Executive Paul Livingston said: “The newest generation of the Black Hawk is proven, versatile and ready now. It’s not only the right choice for UK Defence, it’s the right choice for UK industry and it will create a generation of high-skilled jobs here in Britain.”
Lockheed Martin estimates that nearly 40% of the total Black Hawk production and assembly will take place in the UK which will support an average of 660 UK jobs every year between 2025 and 2030.
The plan generates around £470 million in export opportunities for UK partners who manufacture subsystems and components over the next decade. This amount is equivalent to 40% of the Total Programme Value, based on the expected export market to Black Hawk customers.
The company’s estimate includes ongoing fleet sustainment that will support roughly 320 jobs every year for many years into the future when the UK Black Hawk fleet is in operation.
In addition, Lockheed Martin stated that UK participation in the Black Hawk programme would provide opportunities for UK industries to get involved in the creation and manufacture of Lockheed Martin’s upcoming rotorcraft solutions. This could lead to a steady flow of work and exporting opportunities for UK businesses for up to 45 years.
The UK New Medium Helicopter is a programme initiated by the UK MoD in 2021 to acquire a new fleet of medium-lift helicopters for the British Army and the Royal Air Force.
The new helicopters will replace older platforms, such as the Puma, Dauphin and Bell 212, and are expected to enter service in the mid-2020s. The project aims to consolidate the helicopter fleet and reduce costs and complexity.