Fylde jobs protected in £2.5bn jet deal

Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft taking to the sky
Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft taking to the sky
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A £2.5bn deal for Oman to buy 12 Typhoon fighter jets – protecting Fylde aerospace jobs – was sealed today by Prime Minister David Cameron.

The Middle Eastern state and BAE Systems also agreed the sale of eight Hawk 128 aircraft.

The aircraft will be built at Warton and delivery is expected in 2017.

Mr Cameron, who visited Warton this summer, was in Oman to oversee the deal.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “This is brilliant news for Warton and Lancashire in the run up to Christmas.

“The deal will help to secure up to 40,000 jobs across the UK supply chain, many of which are here in Lancashire.

“Winning big export deals like this will keep the production line at Warton going, and if we can build on this to win even more export order it secures jobs for many years into the future.

“It is a reflection of a lot of hard work by BAE Systems and the Prime Minister to pull this off.

“This comes on top of a recent visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Emirate and these are both countries were we can try to sell Typhoon.”

Guy Griffiths, group managing director for BAE Systems’ international business, said: “Receiving this contract is an honour and is excellent news for both BAE Systems and the Eurofighter Typhoon consortium.”

Before his arrival in Muscat, the Prime Minister dismissed concerns about Britain selling arms in the region.

He said: “Boosting exports is vital for economic growth and that’s why I’m doing all I can to promote British business in the fastest growing markets so they can thrive in the global race.

“Every country in the world has a right to self-defence and I’m determined to put Britain’s first-class defence industry at the forefront of this market, supporting 300,000 jobs across the country.

“It’s testament to Britain’s leading aerospace industry and the deal will safeguard thousands of jobs across the UK, not just at the BAE Systems factories in Lancashire and East Riding in Yorkshire but at many more small businesses up and down the country that play a vital role in delivering these aircraft.”

Last month Mr Cameron visited Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE on a trade mission to promote BAE and persuade the states to buy British-made defence equipment.

The move also demonstrates an attempt to forge links outside of the traditional Nato countries.

It is thought that Saudi Arabia is eager to add to the fleet of 72 jets already ordered from BAE and the UAE is deciding between BAE and French rival Dassault, maker of the Rafale jet