£160m jet deal for BAE
December 23, 2004
A £160m order for aircraft giant BAE Systems has been described as the perfect Christmas present.
The Ministry of Defence has awarded the contract to design and develop the new Hawk trainer jet.
The work will be carried out at the arms giant's Brough factory in East Yorkshire, helping secure the site'sfuture.
A BAE spokesman said it was the perfect Christmas present for the 2,500 staff who will work on the project.
Defence minister Lord Bach said the contract was a
"significant milestone" in the Hawk programme.
He added it was "excellent news" for UK industry
and the workforce at the Brough factory.
"We will continue to work closely with BAE Systems to develop an aircraft that meets our future capability needs," he said.
The work will be the first phase of an £800 million contract to supply the trainer jets. The Government first announced its intention to buy Hawk jets from BAE systems in July last year after a nine-month campaign led by union leaders and backed by MPs David Davies and Alan Johnson.
Exact aircraft numbers are not yet known and the MOD says a final decision on investment and numbers will not be taken until 2006.
A BAE spokesman said the lucrative contract will help safeguard the future of the site and could lure further business from overseas.
"We knew the decision had been made but there is nothing quite like having the contract signed," he said.
"It's important that our own government shows confidence in the UK workforce."
BAE had warned that jobs at the plant could be axed if contracts for the new jet were handed to a European competitor.
Workers at Brough are currently working on four
contracts awarded by the South African, the Indian,the Bahrain and the UK governments.