British-made Royal Navy helicopters displayed onboard HMS Prince of Wales

prince of wales

Visitors to the aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales, which will dock in Liverpool to welcome members of the public from February 29 to March 1, will be able to see advanced military helicopters built in Yeovil, Somerset, alongside other UK-manufactured technology.

In pride of place will be Leonardo’s AW159 Wildcat and AW101 Merlin helicopters, which keep watch over the carrier and the surrounding seas, ensuring the ship and its crew are well protected from enemy submarines, surface ships, aircraft and missiles.

The Wildcat and Merlin helicopters are manufactured in Yeovil at the UK’s only factory capable of producing a complete helicopter, from its early design to its testing and manufacture and are exported worldwide.

Leonardo also equips the HMS Prince of Wales with a secure and resilient communications network which connects crew members stationed throughout the 65,000-tonne warship. Keeping the HMS Prince of Wales in touch with the rest of the fleet, Leonardo also provides secure messaging equipment for around 90% of the Royal Navy’s ships and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s Tide-class tankers, which provide essential support to the carriers, all from its factory in Basildon.

Leonardo has around 7,000 employees based across the UK, including hundreds of highly skilled engineers and scientists designing and building some of the nation’s most advanced security technology.

The firm is one of the four British companies working on the UK’s next generation ‘Tempest’ combat jet (the others are BAE Systems, MBDA and Rolls-Royce) and its Northern-most factory in Edinburgh is developing the new radar for the Royal Air Force’s Typhoon aircraft. With many of the company’s projects having a military focus, this visit by HMS Prince of Wales will be the first opportunity for many members of the public to engage with Leonardo’s cutting-edge technology face-to-face.

Leonardo, which is a member of the UK Naval Engineering, Science & Technology (UKNEST) forum, also provides capabilities for the carrier in partnership with other companies. The company’s thermal imaging detectors from its Southampton site, which have been used to film nighttime segments in BBC nature documentaries such as Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Seven Worlds, One Planet, form part of the carrier’s Electro-Optical Systems from Ultra Electronics. Leonardo’s engineers have also integrated new Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) systems from BAE Systems.

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