Apache helicopters at Wattisham Airfield in £367m maintenance contract to save costs

An Apache helicopter drops in to King Edward VI school in Bury St Edmunds in March this year
An Apache helicopter drops in to King Edward VI school in Bury St Edmunds in March this year
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The Ministy of Defence has awarded a £367 million contract for the engine maintenance of its Apache army helicopters based at Wattisham Airfeld.

The six-year contract with Rolls Royce Turbomeca, will also provide maintence to its Merlin helicopters used by the Royal Navy and RAF.

Both helicopters have had extensive service in Afghanistan.

The MOD said that by simplifying the supply chain, improving technical support and increasing the availability of spare parts, the new contract will help to reduce the numbers of major repairs needed, keeping them in the air for longer.

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne, said: “This contract will provide important support for our Merlin and Apache fleets, which play an vital role defending this country’s interests around the world.

“This includes defending the UK and protecting our personnel on operations in Afghanistan.

“By improving the way we work with industry to maintain our helicopters with contracts like these, we can keep Apache and Merlin helicopters in the air for longer, which also ensures best value for money, saving for the taxpayer £300 million over six years compared with the previous support arrangements.”

Air Commodore Mark Sibley, who is responsible for the maintenance of Apaches and Chinooks said: “Merlins and Apaches have been used extensively in Afghanistan and are two key capabilities for our Armed Forces. 
“This contract has a number of benefits for our Apache and Merlin crews, principally improving engine availability and reliability, while reducing costs.”