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At the Farnborough International Airshow (FIA), Leonardo took another opportunity to promote its AW149 for the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) New Medium Helicopter (NMH) program. Flush from success with the order from Poland for 32 aircraft, Leonardo presented AW149 P5 — the fully equipped prototype — in its static display area. The aircraft had recently returned from rocket and missile trials from an undisclosed location in Europe.
With a potential UK order of 23 aircraft to serve as a replacement for the Puma, during a press conference at FIA the company revealed that it had already begun establishing a production line for the aircraft at its site in Yeovil, U.K.
Leonardo regarded this as the company’s “declaration of readiness” to support the UK MoD requirement to have the NMH in service by 2025.
Should Leonardo be successful with its bid, the company intends to move all AW149 production to the Yeovil facility. The company said up to 500 more AW149s could be built at the site for export to other air arms. Of these, one is expected to be a follow-on order from Poland, however, these will be constructed on a production line in Poland.