BAE signs £1.6bn Saudi jet
British defence giant BAE Systems has secured a £1.6 billion contract to supply Hawk aircraft to Saudi Arabia, preventing more than 240 potential job losses at its Yorkshire factory.
As per the contract, the firm will provide 55 Pilatus PC-21 aircraft and 22 Hawk advanced jet trainer aircraft along with spares and technical support to the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF).
Guy Griffiths, BAE’s group managing director International, said: “We have a long history in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and, working with Pilatus, we will provide the RSAF with the best training platforms to meet their requirements.”
“Through the Hawk advanced jet trainer, the trainee fast jet pilots will have access to the very latest in advanced simulation for radar, weapons and defensive aids training to enable a smooth transition to frontline aircraft, including Typhoon.”
The aircraft will be built at two Lancashire sites in Warton and Samlesbury, both near Preston, while some related manufacturing work will be done at Brough, saving 248 of some 900 jobs that were due to face cuts by 2013.
Although the news had a welcoming reception, Unite’s national officer for aerospace Ian Waddell said: “This is good news for BAE but makes no difference to the Brough site. This contract was always in the plan and the announcement has been anticipated for the last year.“
“We’ve managed to save about 200 jobs at Brough, but still have a massive challenge to save the other 650. There are other BAE sites across the North West where workers are also frightened for their future and thousands of jobs are at risk.”