Julian Bray writes: The USA based Boeing Company is to be offered an astonishing £ 2-billion-pound long term contract by the heavy spending UK Ministry of Defence, for some 50 new Apache Attack military helicopters, at a knock down all inclusive price, which includes servicing throughout its 25 year service life.
This will come as a blow to European manufacturers, as any change in future UK governments, will not negate this deal.
Its claimed the price was discounted, as it had been added to the ideally timed production run for a 'substantial order' from the US Military. The official announcement was set to become public in July 2016, well after the UK had voted either to leave or remain in the European Community.
Industry sources suggested that Italian aerospace manufacturer Finmeccanica SpA had also been in the running for the contract; however according to insiders, the uncertainty over the future state of the Euro and the possible breakup of mainland Europe, generally also helped tip the scales heavily in favour of the USA, Boeing and the US Dollar.
The original fleet of some 67 UK Apaches was produced by Westland in Yeovil, assembly started in 1995, however, cost overruns, with the addition of many US-built components soured the deal. That led to a doubling of the unit price to around $64 million. Westland is now part of Italian government-backed Leonardo. UK Westland will end production after its last model rolls of the line in 2017.
Bloomberg suggests Defence circles want 'primacy over delivery, rather than reliant on domestic production with the scope for delays and possible industrial unrest.
Sources point out that buying the Apaches is just 30 per cent of the total contract, he balance allocated to supporting and servicing them during their projected 25-year service span.
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