A BRIDPORT company has landed a multi-million pound contract for the French armed forces.

Amsafe Bridport has been awarded the £10.5 million contract for a multipurpose helicopter transport system, for the French armed forces helicopter fleet.

It is thought the deal will secure the future of the business which has its headquarters at The Court in West Street and subsidiaries in America and Sri Lanka.

The contract is for a suite of specialist helicopter cargo lifting equipment to transport a wide range of cargo loads, both inside the aircraft and underslung.

The contract is for the supply and support of 256 sets of equipment over a period of seven years.

The equipment will be used on a wide range of French armed forces helicopters including NH-90, Puma, Super Puma, Cougar and Caracal.

Most of the equipment to be supplied is designed and manufactured by AmSafe Bridport, including its unique QuickDrop remote controlled pendant and hook system which allows loads to be safely dropped by the helicopter crew without the need for ground crew. It enables faster detachment of cargo loads with reduced risks to troops on the ground.

The contract was awarded after a competitive tendering process and is valued at 12.5 million euros.

Neal McKeever, sales and marketing director at AmSafe Bridport said: “This contract win further strengthens AmSafe Bridport's position as the world leading provider of helicopter cargo transportation systems.

“Our unique and effective products have been developed by working closely with the world's armed forces to understand their needs and engineer solutions that provide significant benefits.”

Ian Kentfield, president of AmSafe Bridport said that the “significant” defence contract comes almost exactly a year after AmSafe Bridport secured a contract to supply its Tarian Rocket Propelled Grenade protection system to the UK MOD.

“Plus our recent success in the commercial aviation sector with the launch of fire containment cover with UPS and ultra-light weight pallet nets with KLM- Royal Dutch Airlines, demonstrates the success of the company's strategy to focus on key market niches where it has developed a thorough understanding of customer needs and is able to harness its innovative skills and unique capabilities to provide world class solutions for global aerospace and defence markets.”

At its Bridport UK facility AmSafe Bridport designs and manufactures cargo handling and airframe products for both commercial aviation and defence.