MEON VALLEY MP Flick Drummond has co-hosted the launch of Safran’s bid to provide updated engines for the Royal Navy’s Merlin helicopter and new engines for the forthcoming New Medium Helicopter.

Flick joined Safran Helicopter Engines UK chief executive Nick Earl at the company’s Segensworth Business Park base for the event last week.

The company currently employs 160 people but if the bid to equip the MoD’s New Medium Helicopter with their Aneto-1K engines is successful, that number will increase substantially.

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Key parts of the engine would be manufactured on site and all maintenance and overhaul would be performed at Segensworth.

In a speech, Flick praised Safran’s involvement in British aerospace and engineering. The company supplies more than half the helicopter engines across the UK’s three armed services.

She said: “I am delighted to support Safran by co-hosting this launch event for their New Medium Helicopter engine campaign.

“I am extremely proud to have a company like Safran in my constituency. Safran delivers high-value technical capabilities and provides vital support to helicopter operators across the UK, including many who play critical roles in our defence and security."

Safran is supporting the bid by helicopter manufacturer Leonardo to provide the New Medium Helicopter. If Safran’s engine is used it would guarantee UK jobs across industry for decades to come including jobs and supply chain opportunities in Meon Valley and across Hampshire.

The Ministry of Defence is expected to formally launch the competition for the contracts in the coming months.

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