DAVID Cameron has told Fylde aerospace workers they are building the best plane in the world – and he will do everything he can to help sell it.
The Prime Minister made a flying visit to the firm’s BAE Systems Warton site, describing Eurofighter Typhoon as a “great British product” from a “great British company”.
Mr Cameron talked to apprentices about their work, and told The Gazette: “This is undoubtedly the best aircraft on offer.
“It proved itself in the Libya campaign where it was almost 100 per cent reliable and, talking to the pilots in Italy who were flying it, they were incredibly proud to fly it.
“I visited five countries in four days last week and some of those, like Malaysia, are very interested in Typhoon. Obviously I’ve made trips to Oman, also to Saudi Arabia.
“I’ll do everything I can to get behind this great British product and this great British company.”
The Government has come in for criticism in recent months for not doing enough to push British exports.
Earlier this year the Indian government chose the French-built Rafale as its preferred fighter jet option ahead of the Typhoon.
Mr Cameron said the Government would keep its commitment to the Typhoon programme, but it was up to the Ministry of Defence if any more were to be ordered.
He added: “I’ve visited Malaysia, Oman and Saudi Arabia to make sure they’re fully aware what a great British product this is.
“We’ve made our commitments and will continue to keep them.”
BAE announced up to 1,400 job losses in Lancashire following a slowdown in the production of Eurofighter last year.
Unions are in the process of mitigating them, and shop floor workers agreed to take unpaid leave to save positions at the company.
Fylde MP Mark Menzies was delighted to see the Prime Minister at the facility.
He added: “This demonstrates the Prime Minister’s commitment to manufacturing in the UK.”
Craft apprentice Elliott Fairburn, 30, from Layton, said it was “great to see” the Prime Minister showing his support for BAE.
He added: “I started my apprenticeship at 28. I’d had many jobs before – and found BAE when I drove past as a bus driver. I’ve never looked back after coming here and I’m grateful to everyone – it’s a great way to get people into manufacturing.
“The apprenticeship has given me an education while working – you don’t get that anywhere else.”
And technical apprentice Adam Hives, 24, from St Annes added: “It’s great to see Mr Cameron showing his support, to actually see him here, and especially spending time with apprentices.
“Being an apprentice is a great opportunity, getting first hand experience on the job, learning and earning money.”