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Business & Economy

Defence firm Leonardo to create 200 jobs at Newcastle research base

A military helicopter maker has pledged to create 200 jobs after landing in the North East.

Leonardo is opening a research and development base on Newcastle’s Helix science park.

The company, which is also known for Royal Air Force electronics work, says the move will deliver more than £185 million to the region’s economy across the next decade.

Bosses say its Tyneside hub will focus on advancing new sensing, security and vertical lift products.

Clive Higgins, Leonardo UK chair and chief executive, 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.

“Leonardo already employs over 8000 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 to develop the next generation of digitally-led technologies.”

The business’ arrival was supported by Invest Newcastle.

Jennifer Hartley, director of the organisation, which is part of Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, said: “This significant investment from Leonardo represents a major boost for the city’s burgeoning defence and aerospace sector.


  • Jennifer Hartley, Invest Newcastle director, with, left, Councillor Alex Hay, Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member for a resilient city, and Lord Dominic Johnson, minister of state in the Department for Business and Trade


“It is testament to the strength of our technology ecosystem, research expertise and ability to attract and retain the best talent.”

Leonardo’s North East expansion was also backed by the North of Tyne Combined Authority, which made more than £400,000 available from its Inward Investment Fund, to support the firm’s job creation plans.

As part of the boost, Leonardo UK will sign up to the organisation’s Good Work Pledge.

Councillor Alex Hay, Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member for a resilient city, said: “Leonardo UK is a highly respected company, which will add to the city’s growing reputation for defence industries.”

Hailing its North East arrival, Lord Dominic Johnson, minister of state in the Department for Business and Trade, added: “The North East has proven time and again how inward investment benefits local communities by boosting productivity, driving research and development, creating economic growth and supporting high-value jobs in priority sectors like science and engineering.

“Leonardo’s decision to increase its stake in the UK is another vital step to level up the region and country.”

As well as its helicopter and aircraft electronics work, Leonardo is part of the Global Combat Air Programme, in which the UK, Italy and Japan are working to produce a sixth-generation jet.

Its cybersecurity business has also worked with the Government for decades to protect sensitive information.