More than 200 jobs are to be created at a new high-tech science and engineering facility in Newcastle.

Defence and security firm Leonardo has announced that it is investing in the new base on Newcastle Helix, the ground-breaking 24-acre city centre development that brings together industry leaders, businesses, and top researchers.

Leonardo expects to generate more than £185million of economic benefit in the region over the next ten years as well as accessing talent from across the North East andf building closer links with SMEs in the supply chain.

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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.

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.

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.


"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.”

Jennifer Hartley, Director of Invest Newcastle, part of Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, said: “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 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.”

Cllr Alex Hay, Cabinet member for a Resilient City, Newcastle City Council, said: “This is a highly respected cutting-edge company that will add to the city’s growing reputation for defence industries. Not only will these jobs give opportunities to a wide of range of employees from starters to highly paid technical and scientific staff but boost the North East’s economy with £185m of economic benefits over the next decade.

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"We want to build a city where everyone has the chance to succeed, improve and access quality employment and training regardless of where they live in Newcastle. The company has recognised the strengths of Newcastle Helix as a site for pioneering research and development and will find a highly skilled and able workforce that will help the company thrive in the UK defence sector.”

Leonardo’s new site will benefit from its location alongside Newcastle University, the UK National Innovation Centre for Data (NIC-D) and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratories (Dstl) Defence Artificial Intelligence Centre – Experimentation (DAIC-X).

At the same time, Leonardo continues to expand the number of early careers opportunities across its UK sites, driven in large part by the company’s core position in the GCAP project. Leonardo will hire an additional 300 apprentices, industrial placements and graduate scheme starters in 2023, bringing the total number of young people on early careers schemes to 900.