Global defence specialist Leonardo has revealed plans to create 200 jobs in Newcastle city centre with the opening of a science and engineering facility.

The company, which has 49,000 employees globally and is based in Rome, will establish a base at The Spark in the city’s Helix neighbourhood.

This will Leonardo’s seventh base in the UK and will be used for research and development of advanced military technologies, including

It will be the eighth UK location for Leonardo and will be used for research and development of advanced military technologies, including items for sensing, security, and vertical lift, that the business sells for €14.1 billion.

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The company said it hoped to work with small and medium-sized businesses in the North East, some of which are already a part of its UK supply chain, and hire talent from the area.

Leonardo, a significant provider of technology to the Ministry of Defence, has around 8,000 employees in the UK and produces military helicopters and equipment for Royal Air Force aircraft.

The business is a part of the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP), a project led by the UK, Italy, and Japan that aims to develop a sixth-generation fighter jet for use by the year 2035.

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The new facility will benefit from being close to Newcastle University, the UK National Innovation Centre for Data, and the Defense Science and Technology Laboratories, according to Leonardo, even though not all of its North East-based staff will work there (Dstl).

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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Leonardo has been supported by the inward investment body Invest Newcastle, part of the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative.

 Jennifer Hartley, director of Invest Newcastle, added: “This significant investment from Leonardo represents a major boost for the city’s burgeoning defence and aerospace sector that will add millions of pounds to the local economy. This investment is a testament to the strength of our eco-system, research strengths and ability to attract and retain the best talent.

“Between the 200 jobs being created by Leonardo and the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) becoming operational on Newcastle Helix, we now have a nationally significant defence cluster that will drive further investment, innovation, and good jobs at all levels for our region’s residents. We look forward to continuing our work and support with Leonardo over the coming months to maximise the impact of this investment for local communities.”

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