AgustaWestland will integrate missile systems onto 28 Royal Navy AW159 Wildcat helicopters. (AgustaWestland)
FARNBOROUGH, ENGLAND — AgustaWestland signed a £90 million (US $154 million) deal on Wednesday to integrate, test and install the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW) heavy and light missile systems onto 28 Royal Navy AW159 Wildcat helicopters.
The missiles, built by MBDA and Thales UK, respectively, will be used to strike surface targets, including fast vessels, as well as land targets.
“This capability is not only innovative but also game changing,” said Philip Dunne, UK defense equipment, support and technology minister, who signed the contract at the Farnborough International Airshow with Mauro Moretti, the new CEO of AgustaWestland parent Finmeccanica.
In reference to the FASGW heavy missile, which is being developed as part of ongoing Anglo-French defense cooperation, Dunne said, “This is a significant step in the closer working relationship with our French friends.”
The armaments will be flight tested in Scotland and also possibly in Wales, with a full in-service date of 2020.
At the air show, the Israeli Spike missile, which is being fitted to Wildcats sold to South Korea last year, was also displayed next to a Wildcat, alongside the MU90 torpedo. Asked if the MU90 was a potential armament for the Wildcat, Daniele Romiti, the CEO of AgustaWestland, said “This is an open capability.”
AgustaWestland is building 62 Wildcat helicopters for the UK, 28 of which will be operated by the Royal Navy and 34 by the British Army. ■