UK wins global fighter plane contract worth £500m

A £500m contract has been awarded to an aircraft repair hub in North Wales to repair F-35 fighter plane components.

The assignment is expected to begin in 2020. F-35
In 2016, the UK was chosen by the F-35 Program Office to be a global repair hub.

The UK’s role as a leading partner on the global F-35 programme has received another boost, after the F-35 avionic and aircraft component repair hub in North Wales was awarded a second major deal worth £500m by the US Department of Defense.

MoD Sealand will maintain, repair, overhaul and upgrade hundreds of F-35 fighter jet systems. The assignment is expected to begin in 2020 and support hundreds of high-tech jobs.

It will see crucial maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade services for an even wider range of F-35 avionic, electronic and electrical systems for hundreds of F-35 aircraft based globally.

In 2016, the UK was chosen by the F-35 Program Office to be a global repair hub to maintain the aircraft.

What is the F-35?

F-35 is the world’s largest defence programme. Led by the US, with participation from the UK, Italy, Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Turkey.

It is a collaborative programme aimed at delivering a multi-role attack aircraft capable of operating from land and sea to nations across the globe.

The F-35 combines 5th generation fighter aircraft characteristics — advanced stealth, integrated avionics, sensor fusion and superior logistics support — with the most powerful and comprehensive integrated sensor package of any fighter aircraft in history.

Data collected by sensors on the F-35 will instantly be shared with commanders at sea, in the air or on the ground, providing an immediate view of ongoing operations.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, said: “This announcement keeps Britain right at the centre of the global F-35 partnership, the largest defence programme in history. It is a vote of confidence in our highly-skilled workforce and high-tech industry that provides us and our allies with the very best of what British engineering has to offer.

“This deal builds on the strong foundations of the UK’s enduring defence partnership with the US. It is a significant boost for British jobs and those highly-skilled workers who enable these world-class fighter jets to continue keeping us safe and secure.”

He added: “This assignment recognises the world-class skills and critical support being provided at DECA – a MOD-owned Executive Agency.  It places North Wales at the very heart of F-35 support delivery for the next 40 years and directly supports hundreds more high-tech F-35 jobs in the UK.”