Yeovil helicopter firm AgustaWestland wins £350m South Korea Wildcat contract
Yeovil helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland has landed the first export order for its Wildcat combat helicopters.
The South Korea government has decided to buy eight of the helicopters to strengthen its Navy's ability to combat ships and submarines.
The Asian country will receive four Wildcats in 2015 and four more in 2016 worth around £350m.
The Yeovil-based firm beat off competition from American rivals Sikorsky.
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The helicopter is designed and constructed at the company's Lysander Road plant.
AgustaWestland was the incumbent in South Korea, which has already bought 25 Lynx helicopters.
The UK Government is the lead customer for the Lynx replacement, with a £1bn contract for 34 Army and 28 Royal Navy Wildcats.
The British military will convert to its first brood of Wildcats later this year.
Yeovil MP David Laws said: "Today's announcement is a boost for our local economy, and good news for the rest of the UK.
"I congratulate all those at AgustaWestland who have helped to win this important contract, which will secure hundreds of jobs for people in Yeovil and throughout the country.
"It is extremely impressive that AgustaWestland has won this contract against stiff opposition from international competitors, and demonstrates the strength and quality of the manufacturing workforce that we have in Yeovil and throughout the UK.
"This is also great news for the Wildcat programme and can only be good for our prospects of securing further business."