Death of Fylde coast engineer behind the Tornado and Typhoon

Gerrie Willox a leading figure at BAE Systems who worked on the Tornado and Typhoon projects has died.
Gerrie Willox a leading figure at BAE Systems who worked on the Tornado and Typhoon projects has died.
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An engineer who once worked with the Dambusters bouncing bomb designer Barnes Wallace and who led major projects for BAE Systems has died.

Gerrie Willox, 87, of Wrea Green, who received the OBE in June 1987 for his work, died peacefully at Clifton Hospital.

He was a former director of BAE Military Aircraft Division and the chief executive of the consortium which built the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Mr Willox was born and educated in Aberdeenshire and studied mechanical engineering.

He worked at the Fairey aircraft company in 1952 and in the summer of 1953 worked with Barnes Wallace on swing wing aircraft.

That experience led to him becoming a major figure in the Tornado project years later.

He joined BAE’s forerunner English Electric at Warton in 1956 and became chief project engineer in 1961.

He worked on a variety of projects including the ill-fated TSR2 supersonic strike bomber and on vertical takeoff and landing schemes.

He played a leading role in the development with Panavia of the MRCA, the aircraft which became the Tornado swing wing bomber which is still in service with the RAF today.

In 1978 he was appointed Executive Director of the Warton division in the reorganisation of British Aerospace and two years later the director of the Tornado project.

In June 1985 he became managing director of the Eurofighter consortium leading the development of the EFA which later became the Typhoon.

Married to Elizabeth and with one son Malcolm, he retired in 1991 but remained as a consultant to the aerospace industry.

His funeral service was held at St Nicholas Church Wrea Green.

See also: BAE on the up after good year