A new agreement between BAE Systems and Turkey could protect Lancashire jobs for years to come.
A deal has been signed between BAE and Turkish Aerospace Industries to collaborate on the first development phase of a home-grown fighter jet for the Turkish Air Force .
The TF-X is to be a so-called fifth generation aircraft similar to the F35 which BAE already works on with the USA.
Fylde MP Mark Menzies has welcomed the agreement signed when Prime Minister Theresa May visited her Turkish counterpart President Recep Erdogan.
Mrs May said the deal, ahead of a planned contract worth more than £100m, marked the start of a new and deeper trading relationship with Turkey and would potentially secure British and Turkish jobs and prosperity for decades to come.
Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “I was delighted Theresa May signed a Heads of Government agreement on Saturday during her trade mission to Turkey.
“This will mean that BAE plays a key role in the development of fighter aircraft for Turkey.
“I’m delighted that this will protect the jobs of more than 400 people at Warton and Samlesbury in the initial development phase, but in reality this is likely to lead to multi-billion pound contracts with our key NATO partner and protect jobs at Warton for decades to come.”
BAE Systems chief executive, Ian King, said: ‘‘BAE Systems is a leader in designing, manufacturing and supporting fighter aircraft and is in an excellent position to contribute technical and engineering expertise and experience of managing complex projects to this key Turkish programme.
“The announcement signals an exciting next step in relations between both Turkey and the UK with the co-operation between BAE Systems and TAI paving the way for a deeper defence partnership.”
Hundreds of engineers will work on the programme.