MORE jobs may be saved at BAE Systems after Oman stated its intent to purchase Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft for its Air Force.
While workers at the Warton factory wait with baited breath over a bidding war against France’s Dassault for an order for 127 aircraft for India, the Middle East state has pushed forward its intention to buy the aircraft.
In 2010, the Government of Oman stated its intention to purchase the Warton-built aircraft for its air force.
This has now taken another significant step forward with the issue of a Request for Proposal from BAE Systems – the next step towards an order.
A spokesman for BAE Systems said: “While the order will help sustain existing jobs, it will not lead to the creation of new positions within the company.
“BAE Systems welcomes the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the supply and support of Typhoon fighter aircraft for the Royal Air Force of Oman.
“This news underpins the long-standing defence and security relationship between Oman and the United Kingdom and between the armed forces in Oman and BAE Systems, a major supplier of equipment and services to the sultanate.”
The UK Government has welcomed the move and issued a statement which says: “The UK Government welcomes the Government of Oman’s request for a proposal from BAE Systems for the supply and support of Typhoon aircraft.
“This represents an important step towards the contract.
“Not only is this a further sign of the strong and enduring relationship between the two countries, but it also presents a further opportunity for both Governments and respective industries to work together to bring wider economic, training and education benefits to Oman”.
Moves are being made to mitigate as many job losses at BAE’s Warton site as possible.
Due to a slowdown in production, the firm announced 822 losses at Warton.
Half of all losses across Lancashire have since been mitigated.
It’s widely expected that the Indian Government will make an announcement on its decision for the provision of 127 planes in the next fortnight. The competition is a straight race between the Eurofighter and France’s Rafale aircraft after offers from America, Sweden and Russia were discounted.
It’s widely understood that the Eurofighter bid is the cheaper option – but the Indian Government would prefer to deal with one nation, rather than the four involved in Typhoon.