Fylde-built jets ‘offered’ for defence effort

Fighter jets developed on the Fylde coast could be used to bolster “air policing” in the east of Europe following Russian action in Crimea.

By Gareth Vickers
Monday, 17th March 2014, 5:13 pm
BAE's Eurofighter Typhoon - built and developed on the Fylde Coast
BAE's Eurofighter Typhoon - built and developed on the Fylde Coast

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said RAF Typhoons, built at BAE Systems in Warton, would, from late April, be available to aid the Polish contribution to the routine Nato defensive operations over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Mr Hammond told MPs in the Houses of Parliament the measure was to provide “assurance” to Nato allies.

He added: “We are doing everything we can to reassure our Nato allies about the protection we offer and I am able to advise the House this afternoon we have taken the decision this morning to offer to Nato UK Typhoon aircraft from late April to augment the Polish contribution to the Nato Baltic air policing mission.

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Defence Secretary Philip Hammond

“I hope that will provide reassurance to our Nato allies in the east.”

Mr Hammond’s decision comes following Sunday’s referendum in Crimea, in which officials said 97 per cent of voters backed breaking away from Ukraine and joining Russia.

The individuals targeted by the sanctions are seen as having played a key role in the referendum, which Ukraine, the United States of America and the European Union said is illegal.

Pro-Russian forces have been in control of Crimea since late February.

Officials in Moscow said the troops are pro-Russian self-defence forces and not under its direct control.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies, whose constituency includes Warton, backed Mr Hammond’s plans to provide Typhoon jets to Nato allies.

He said: “These are very troubling times for Europe.

“For the first time in a generation we have faced insecurity on our continent.

“It is important the Government takes a robust stance in order to ensure that the rule of international law prevails.”