BAE Systems has received a £446m five-year contract to support the current fleet of Typhoon jets.
The support contract will provide a range of engineering services for over 300 jets the order will help to sustain around 600 jobs at BAE Systems’ Warton and Samlesbury sites in Lancashire focused on engineering, supply chain and project management.
The contract is part of the wider support contract which was awarded to the Eurofighter partner companies through NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA), the prime customer and management body for the four-nation Eurofighter Typhoon weapon system.
The deal covers the 119 Typhoon jets owned by the UK, 84 German, 61 Italian and 42 Spanish-operated fighter jets. A spokesman for BAE Systems said that this figure would increase as more Typhoons are delivered to the four nations.
The deal covers the £100m worth of modifications that BAE Systems has been making for the UK’s jets in preparation for the Olympics.
With European defence budgets becoming increasing squeezed, BAE Systems have had to contribute to the customer’s 30% savings target on Typhoon support.
The in-service support agreement, known as Contract 1 will introduce significant efficiencies by bringing together a number of legacy contracts and proposed new work into an overarching umbrella contract.
This work will provide the test and evaluation infrastructure for the future air-to-air and air-to-ground Typhoon capability enhancements announced in the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR). The contract will also underpin the essential day-to-day support to air force operations across four nations, the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Typically the type of engineering support will involve query answering and investigations following customer operations. There are studies ongoing on how to improve availability and reliability to maximise flying hours and reduce cost. Emerging operational requirements for Typhoon will also be covered, as has been the case with the London Olympics.
BAE Systems have stated that the contract will help to sustain UK engineering capability and jobs. Martin Taylor, BAE Systems’ combat air support director, said: “Over a five year period the contract will deliver significant savings to the customer and will ensure that we have the skills, capabilities and funding in place to support Typhoon users across Europe.”
Ian Waddell, Unite’s national officer for aerospace and shipbuilding, welcomed the news after 3,000 redundancies in military aircraft production at BAE Systems last year. “It demonstrates that governments can provide the clarity of funding which allows companies like BAE Systems to plan effectively and therefore safeguard jobs,” he said.
Mr Waddell added: “This is one small example of the desperate need for the UK to adopt a defence industrial strategy which lays out the government’s defence procurement plans and allows the UK defence industry to make decisions with some certainty. The current government’s ‘buy off the shelf ‘ policy leaves UK defence companies in the dark and makes tens of thousands of skilled jobs vulnerable as it is impossible to make sensible investment decisions.”