Spirit AeroSystems named in consortium to revitalise UK's helicopter industry

The H175M is a modern and exceptionally capable helicopter with the biggest cabin in its class and outstanding range and endurance
Gary McDonald Business Editor

BELFAST-based Spirit AeroSystems is among a consortium of leading aerospace companies named by Airbus as part of a task force to revitalise the UK's helicopter industry and potentially support thousands of jobs in the sector.

Spirit (formerly Bombardier) will join three others - Babcock International, Martin-Baker, and Pratt & Whitney Canada - as first members of the H175M Task Force brought together by Airbus Helicopters.

They form the industry team created to offer, supply and support the British-produced H175M helicopter for the UK's New Medium Helicopter (NMH) requirement.

The H175M is a modern and exceptionally capable helicopter with the biggest cabin in its class, outstanding range and endurance, and low through-life costs.

Spirit AeroSystems, which is already an Airbus partner on the CityAirbus NextGen eVTOL aircraft, will undertake extensive detailed design and manufacturing activities on the H175M.

The company's European space and defence and government affairs vice-president Sir Michael Ryan said: “We are delighted to utilise our advanced composites design and manufacturing expertise at both our Belfast and Prestwick facilities to support the H175M Task Force.

“We've been working for many years with Airbus, supplying key structures, including fully integrated, for multiple commercial aircraft programmes and, more recently, on the exploration of disruptive aircraft design.

“We're excited to collaborate on another new platform, and to leverage our design-for-manufacture capability to offer innovative, cost-effective solutions for defence.”

Sir Michael added: “We look forward to joining other strategic partners on developing a proposal with the potential to help shape the future of UK military rotorcraft.”

Airbus Helicopters UK managing director Lenny Brown said: “These agreements, signed with some of the most respected aerospace companies in the UK and internationally, are a clear sign of the robustness and enduring value to the nation of our proposal.

“If selected, the H175M Task Force will create hundreds of new jobs and sustain thousands more throughout the UK rotary supply chain in the years ahead.

“The H175M has the potential to reinvigorate the UK's helicopter industry by addressing an export market estimated at nearly 500 aircraft worldwide.”