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Leonardo Helicopters’ giant £30m logistics hub in Yeovil set to open next year

The huge high-tech facility covers the same area as 2.7 football pitches

A gigantic new helicopter hub in Yeovil is set to open next year. Construction is continuing at pace on a new high-tech logistics hub at West Hendford, which will be used by Leonardo Helicopters.

The scheme to build the facility, which covers the same area as 2.7 football pitches, is projected to cost £30m. So far 61,000 tonnes of demolition material and 15,000 cubic metres of earth have been moved at the site, with 25,000 cubic metres of material re-utilised into the new building.

The huge structure now dominates the landscape around Lysander Road and West Hendford after work first got underway at the former GKN site in January. Leonardo Helicopters is currently hoping to seal a bumper £1.2bn deal with the Ministry of Defence to manufacture a new fleet of AW149 helicopters for the UK armed forces in Yeovil, but the firm faces stiff competition from across the globe.

Charlea, a fourth-generation employee at Leonardo, is a project officer working on the AW149 New Medium Helicopter campaign programme. She said: “It has been amazing to see the rise of the Single-Site Logistics Hub during the final year of my business graduate placement at Leonardo in Yeovil.

“My great-grandparents worked on-site a few generations ago in engineering. It’s great that this investment in the site is future proofing Yeovil for years to come as I embark on the next stages of my career here at Leonardo.”

A statement from Leonardo adds: “The new logistics hub will help support Leonardo Helicopters’ global fleet through the warehousing of components and tooling in this state-of-the-art facility, which is now coming to fruition. The project sees the consolidation of eight existing warehouses into one all-encompassing logistics hub.

“Sustainability is at the heart of this development with its high-end technologies. The brand new hub will be equipped with rainwater harvesting tanks for brown water services – this means that water is recycled for use throughout the building in a non-drinking capacity.

“The hub will employ LED lighting throughout the facility and a heat recovery system that will be used in the main warehouse to complement the modern office temperature control system. A bank of electric vehicle charging points will be installed to support Leonardo’s employee Green Travel plan as well as servicing a brand new fleet of electric commercial vehicles that will distribute components from the hub to the company’s manufacturing facilities.”

It is anticipated that the hub will be operational in 2023. The site will be operated under a new ten-year commercial contract with global transport and logistics company Kuehne+Nagel, which will include an investment in plant and equipment installation and warehousing transition activity.

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