FOUR RAF Typhoons are flying the flag for Fylde coast plane makers at a top international air show in the Far East.
The jets have flown 8,000 miles to Langkawi, Malaysia, to show prospective buyers what the Warton-built multi-purpose aircraft can do.
Malaysia needs to replace its ageing Mig-29 fleet with a new multi-role combat aircraft and hopes are high that BAE Systems typhoon can win the deal.
It is looking to buy 18 aircraft initially by 2015 with a possible order for a further 18.
BAE clinched a deal with Oman for 12 Typhoons and eight Hawks worth £2.5bn late last year, so winning a Malaysian deal would help safeguard jobs on the Fylde coast for years to come.
While other defence companies are concentrating on the hardware and software of the products, BAE Systems has been looking at fulfilling Malaysia’s needs for skilled manpower. It is, among others, developing a programme to train locals in the oil and gas sectors in Sabah and Sarawak.
Display pilot Flt Lt Jamie Norris from the RAF has made his first visit to Malaysia and is to fly a series of aerobatic displays in the Typhoon throughout the LIMA 2013 show this week.
He said: “I’ve been working hard on the 2013 display through a damp and cold English winter.
“So to arrive and perform my first display of the 2013 season in a warm and beautiful Malaysia is a great pleasure and honour for me and the team.”
John Brosnan, BAE’s Malaysian based regional managing director said: “Our job is to let Malaysia know that selecting Typhoon is not just about owning a world-leading fighter.
“It is also important to know that it means sustained benefits to the Malaysian economy through industrial partnerships, jobs, technology and skills development.
“While we will be getting those ‘partnership’ messages across on the ground at LIMA we can leave Typhoon to do its own talking – in the air above Langkawi.”
BAE has previously sold Hawk trainers to Malaysia and within that deal developed close skills and supply chain links there which could work in its favour with the new contract.
Two companies there have become supply chain partners.
The Malaysian armed forces are evaluating three rival aircraft to cater for its needs.
TheTyphoon is up against the Gripen from Sweden, Boeing’s F/A-18E Super Hornet from the United States and France’s Rafale from Dassault.