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  1. West Country (E)

Helicopter contracts will give workers security

Agusta Westland in Yeovil has won a contract to convert 25 RAF Merlin helicopters for Royal Navy use.

Its existing contract to service the army's Apache Attack helicopters has also been renewed for another five years.

The Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced the deal, worth seven hundred and sixty million pounds, at a visit to the Yeovil site this morning. He said workers at the plant can now have a "sense of security":

  1. West Country (E)

Defence Secretary announces new contracts in Yeovil

Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond has announced two new contracts at a helicopter manufacturers in Yeovil.

The contracts, with the Ministry of Defence, include one to convert 25 Merlin Helicopter for Royal Navy use.

Philip Hammond meeting apprentices at AgustaWestland after announcing 2 new MoD contracts. Credit: ITV News West Country

The Merlin helicopters will be moved from RAF Benson in Oxfordshire to replace ageing Sea King aircraft at RNAS Yeovilton. The conversion will involve installing a folding rotor head and folding tail.

The RAF Merlin helicopters will be adapted for use by the Royal Navy. Credit: ITV News West Country


Yeovil take on Southampton in FA Cup this afternoon

Yeovil Town's James Hayter is congratulated on scoring his second goal against Leyton Orient in the third round Credit: Dave Howarth/EMPICS Sport

Yeovil Town take on Southampton this afternoon in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

It's the first time the Glovers have made it this far for nine years, and they reached this stage with a 4-0 thrashing of Leyton Orient in the third round. But they face a tough task to progress any further they travel to St Mary's.

Yeovil prepare to take on Southampton

Yeovil Town may be the only team from the region left in the the FA Cup after reaching the fourth round with a 4-0 thrashing of Leyton Orient, but they face a tough task to progress any further as they travel to St Mary's tomorrow to take on Premier League side Southampton.

Manager Gary Johnson and Midfielder Joe Edwards know it's no small challenge:

  1. West Country (E)

Union leaders seek clarification on Westland jobs

Union leaders are seeking clarification of AgustaWestland's plans after suggestions that the company might have to shed jobs following the Indian government’s cancellation of a 12-helicopter deal at the Yeovil plant.

Unite wants to know about future plans at the Somerset plant, after the contract, worth about £455 million, was cancelled amid allegations that Indian officials were bribed to secure the deal.

“We want to hold talks with the management to seek clarification on the implications of this cancellation for employees.

“This is a dedicated and skilled workforce, and we need to get assurances about job security going into 2014. The company’s products are highly regarded internationally.

“We understand that the company has other contracts in place with the Norwegian government which is to be welcomed.”

– Unite national officer for aerospace Ian Waddell

AgustaWestland is the helicopter arm of Italian defence giant, Finmeccanica. Three of the helicopters have already been delivered to India and the remaining nine were due to be dispatched by the middle of this year.


  1. West Country (E)

MP back AgustaWestland after Indian cancellation

David Laws comments on cancellation of helicopter deal Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Yeovil MP David Laws today commented on the news that the Indian Government has pulled out of a deal with AgustaWestland.

'In my view it would have been preferable to give time to establish the veracity of the allegations which have been made before taking any action.'

'AgustaWestland has over many years demonstrated its resilience, based on the outstanding quality of the helicopters which it makes. I expect the company to go on selling its products all over the world and to show that this setback can be overcome.'

  1. West Country (E)

India cancels £464 million Yeovil helicopter contract

Business Secretary Vince Cable with an AW101 helicopter at Agusta Westland in Yeovil last month Credit: ITV News West Country

India has cancelled a £464 million deal for helicopters being built at Agusta Westland in Yeovil. It follows allegations of corruption earlier this year, which the company denies. Three of the 12 AW101 helicopters ordered have already been delivered.

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