Around 200 jobs – the vast majority of them based on the Fylde coast – have been safeguarded after BAE Systems signed a multi-million pound deal to deliver upgrades to Eurofighter Typhoon jets.
Under what is known as the ‘Phase 3 Enhancements Package’ (P3E), the £165m contract, signed at a defence conference in Abu Dhabi will see the jet receive upgrades including improvements to the maintenance and mission systems.
The contract will also include the integration on to the jet of a weapon known as the MBDA Brimstone 2 precision missile.
Representatives from the four Eurofighter partner countries – UK, Germany, Italy and Spain – signed a €200 million contract to upgrade the jet, said the Eurofighter consortium, which includes BAE Systems PLC, Airbus Group NV and Finmeccanica SpA.
The new capabilities will likely be available in two years.
The contract represents an order value of £72m to BAE Systems for the integration of the MBDA Brimstone 2 weapon.
This announcement follows a successful feasibility study and a trial installation commissioned by the Ministry of Defence and carried out by BAE in 2014.
And the contract helps sustain more than 200 highly skilled engineering jobs in Lancashire – the vast majority of them at BAE’s base in Warton – where the upgrade work will take place.
Martin Taylor, combat air managing director for BAE Systems, said: “The number of capability enhancements put in place for Typhoon in the past 12 months has been phenomenal.
“P3E represents another exciting chapter in the development journey for Typhoon.”
This latest upgrade, with the integration of the Brimstone 2, opens up the air-to-surface capability of the aircraft even further to cope with a wide variety of targets, including fast moving vehicles.
The news comes days after BAE secured a £18.5m deal for support for the Hawk aircraft. It signed a five-year contract to provide Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) with a comprehensive package comprising ground support equipment, spares, support and training for the Hawk Mk132 advanced jet trainer. This is in support of HAL’s plans to establish a dedicated repair and overhaul facility for the aircraft in advance of a major servicing milestone anticipated in 2016.