Hundreds of highly skilled jobs are set to be safeguarded with the sealing of a deal between Britain and France to come up with the air defence aircraft of the future.
Fylde MP Mark Menzies today welcomed news of the multi-million pound aircraft research project, which will protect around 100 jobs in Fylde.
He this week received a letter from Defence Minister Philip Dunne MP, who confirmed the contracts had been placed for the two-year £120m feasibility phase of the UK-French Future Combat Air System (FCAS) Demonstration Programme.
The scheme, which will examine the options for the next generation of combat air systems after Typhoon and Rafale go out of service post 2030, will see BAE Systems receive £30m as one of six industrial partners in the programme.
Mr Menzies said: “This agreement was made by the Prime Minister and President Hollande in January and I am delighted to see it has now been formalised.
“The UK is at the forefront of the aeronautical industry and by investing in its future we will protect highly skilled jobs at BAE Systems in Warton for many years to come.
“While this programme is just the start of that process, it is important as a nation we look to the future and are prepared for what comes next after the highly successful Warton-built Eurofighter Typhoon goes out of service.
“In his letter, the Minister outlined how this initial stage of the project will already protect 100 jobs at BAE Warton, which is obviously extremely welcome news.”
The joint package of work to be undertaken by the programme will include the development of common unmanned combat air system concepts and other key technologies, architectures and cost studies and work-share pricing estimates.
BAE Systems CEO Ian King said: “This contract award is a key step in the partnership between our two nations, governments and industries.”