Aerospace jobs on the Fylde could hinge on new multi-million pound hi-tech upgrades for the Eurofighter Typhoon.
At a briefing for international figures at the Farnborough Airshow, one of the project’s experienced pilots said new developments coming through in the next few years will keep the versatile aircraft in service with the RAF and others until the 2060s.
The Typhoon is assembled at the BAE Systems plant at Warton and the jet is set to get a conveyor belt of new weapons, radar and software upgrades in coming years to make it the most capable multi-role aircraft in the world.
Details were released at the airshow of the next three development phases of the aircraft which will prolong its lifespan and could result in more sales and help safeguard jobs for the thousands of skilled workers at Warton and its sister site at Samlesbury.
Paul Smith, Aircrew Advisor with BAE, said: “The Typhoon will be part of combat air capability well into the future. We think it will be in operation beyond 2040 into the 50s and 60s.”
The Typhoon has been in the world’s shop window, flying aerobatic displays fully laden with four Meteor beyond visual range Air to Air missiles, six Brimstone two ground vehicle attack missiles, two ASRAAM infra-red missiles and two Paveway IV laser guided bombs.
Mr Smith said: “This is not just a display aircraft, Typhoons are delivering real combat capability around the world today.”
He said Typhoons were in service in a air policing role in the Baltic states right up against Russian air space and were his aircraft of choice if they ever needed to come up against the best Russian jet – the SU 34 Fullback.
He said they were currently carrying out missions over Iraq and Syria including reconnaissance and ground attacks against Daesh terrorist forces and were protecting the Falkland Islands.
Typhoon has been bought by eight countries around the world but has been looking at new customers in Europe, the Middle East and Far East to provide ongoing work for the workforce at Warton.