Hawks go on line

A Hawk aircraft in the skies above Blackpool.

A Hawk aircraft in the skies above Blackpool.

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FYLDE aircraft makers have launched the production line for one of BAE’s Systems’ most successful exports.

Unions have welcomed the company’s investment in setting up the production line for the final assembly of the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer.

When the line is fully operational it will provide work for around 250 aircraft makers at Warton servicing a further 30 orders of Hawks from Saudi Arabia and Oman.

In total, it will safeguard 1,000 jobs, with wings and some electrical parts made in Samlesbury, near Preston and other parts being made in Brough, Yorkshire.

Bob Holmes, Warton union convenor, said they were delighted that the company had chosen to invest in the new facility at Warton.

He said: “We have 48 manual workers and some professional staff seconded over from Brough to help set up the line and some of them may choose to move over here permanently. The Hawk has been a tremendous success for the company and with it being a legacy aircraft, it is more labour intensive than the hi-tech ones so helps sustain more jobs.”

Michael Christie, Director for Hawk at BAE Systems said: “The Hawk aircraft has stood the test of time.

“It’s remained the trainer of choice for Air Forces around the globe because it has constantly evolved and has continued to lead the way by embodying the latest technologies. The Hawk aircraft has and will continue to sustain jobs, protect vital manufacturing skills and prepare pilots for the frontline for many years to come.”

These latest orders bring the total count of Hawks produced and on order to nearly 1,000, preparing the world’s future Fast Jet Pilots across 18 countries.

The Hawks from the new production line will be flying by 2015.

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