Defence and security firm Leonardo has announced that it is investing in a new high-technology science and engineering facility on Newcastle Helix, a ground-breaking 24-acre city centre development that brings together industry leaders, businesses, and top researchers into an internationally renowned innovation cluster.
Leonardo expects to employ over 200 people at the new site, generating over £185M of economic benefit in the region over the next 10 years. The development will allow Leonardo to access talent from across the North-East of England and build closer links with small and medium sized businesses across the region, many of which are already part of Leonardo’s nationwide supply chain.
Best known for its onshore production of UK military helicopters and the cutting-edge electronics on-board Royal Air Force aircraft, Leonardo is one of the biggest suppliers to the UK Ministry of Defence.
The company is at the heart of the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP), the initiative by the UK, Italy and Japan to produce a new 6th generation fighter jet to go into service in 2035, and its cyber security business has been trusted for decades to protect the UK Government’s most sensitive information.
The new site in Newcastle will focus on research, development and prototyping of Leonardo’s next generation sensing, security and vertical lift products. This builds on the data-driven approach to design and manufacturing that went live at the company’s electronics sites across the UK in June 2022, using secure public cloud environments to put big data at the fingertips of engineers in order to accelerate product development.
Science and technology superpower
Minister for Investment Dominic Johnson said: “The North East has proven time and again how inward investment benefits local communities by boosting productivity, driving R&D, creating economic growth and supporting high value jobs in priority sectors like science and engineering. Leonardo’s decision to increase its stake in UK plc is another vital step to level up the region and country, further improving our attractiveness to overseas investors as we continue becoming a science and technology superpower.”
Clive Higgins, Chair and CEO of Leonardo UK said: “The UK’s defence and aerospace industry is an engine for economic growth, prosperity and security, representing world-class research and technology and many thousands of well-paid jobs and amazing career opportunities for young people entering the workforce. Leonardo already employs over 8,000 people in the UK and our new site in Newcastle will allow us to expand even further, drawing on science and engineering skills from the North East region in order to develop the next generation of digitally-led technologies.
“With a track record in providing hundreds of quality early careers scheme places around the country each year, Leonardo’s new site in Newcastle will generate a wealth of opportunities for young people in the area. The skilled, well paid, high technology jobs that will be created by Leonardo in the North East are the kind of employment that will help address regional inequality, ensuring that the whole of Britain can enjoy a prosperous future.”
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