The UK-based defence firm has signed a £1.6bn deal to supply 22 Hawk Trainer jets to Saudi Arabia.
Following agreement between the Governments of Saudi Arabia and the UK, under the Saudi-British Defence Co-operation Programme, BAE Systems has been awarded a £1.6bn contract to support the aircrew training requirements of the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF).
BAE was set to end the manufacture of the Hawk Trainer jets at its Brough factory in 2013, with the loss of 845 jobs, but 218 jobs will now be kept on following confirmation of the deal with Saudi Arabia.
A spokesperson for BAE told The Manufacturer: “While the bulk of the jets will be manufactured at our site in Samlesbury in Lancashire. BAE Systems have confirmed that 218 jobs have been mitigated in Brough, Yorkshire, which will make sub-assembly components for the build.”
Ian Waddell, national officer for aerospace at the union Unite, commented that “this is good news for BAE but makes no difference to the Brough site. This contract was always in the plan and the announcement has been anticipated for the last year.”
The contract covers the provision of equipment and training devices such as aircraft simulators, training aids and aircraft on which to train aircrew.
Included within this requirement is the supply of 55 Pilatus PC-21 aircraft to fulfill the basic training role and 22 BAE Systems Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer aircraft, which will be used to fulfil the fast jet training part of the syllabus.
The company will also provide an initial support package including the provision of spares, technical publications and post design support.
Guy Griffiths, international group managing director at BAE Systems said: “Through the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer, the trainee fast jet pilots will have access to the very latest in advanced simulation for radar, weapons and defensive aids training to enable a smooth transition to front line aircraft, including Typhoon.”
Deliveries of the Pilatus PC-21, manufactured in Switzerland, will commence in 2014. The UK-built Hawk aircraft will be delivered from 2016.