Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Merlin helicopter £269m surveillance system deal sustains jobs

Merlin Mk2 helicopter Image copyright Royal Navy
Image caption The Merlin Mk2 helicopters will be fitted with the Crowsnest system and operate from the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers

More than 200 jobs have been secured in a £269m Ministry of Defence (MoD) deal for a helicopter surveillance system.

The Crowsnest system is being designed for use by the new Queen Elizabeth Class ships.

The announcement was made earlier at Portsmouth's Royal Navy base where final preparations are under way for the arrival of the two carriers.

The MoD said it secured jobs at Thales in Crawley, Lockheed Martin in Havant, and Leonardo Helicopters in Yeovil.

The new Crowsnest system will be integrated into the Merlin Mk2 helicopter.

The technology provides long range air, sea and land detection and tracking capability.

The 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth - the first of two new Royal Navy aircraft carriers - is expected to begin sea trials in March.

The second aircraft carrier, HMS Prince Of Wales, is expected to begin sea trials in 2019.

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