The Ministry of Defence has committed £372 million across four contracts for the continued in-service support of Hawk fast jet training aircraft, securing around 700 UK jobs until 2020.
The fleet of Hawk TMk1 and TMk2 aircraft are used by the UK armed forces for military flying training prior to conversion onto frontline fast jet aircraft, such as Typhoon or the future F35 Lightning II, and for a variety of other Royal Navy and Royal Air Force training requirements. They are also the aircraft of choice by the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows - one of the world’s premier aerobatic display teams.
The five year support contracts will play a crucial role in providing a range of services to the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force’s Hawk aircraft at bases around the country including locations in Wales, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Somerset and Cornwall.
Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said:
This announcement highlights the important effect this government’s decision to grow the defence budget is having on the sector in Wales.
Only by sticking to the long term economic plan is the government able to make such investments. These contracts will sustain hundreds of highly skilled jobs in north Wales, and ensure RAF Valley maintains its reputation as a world class hub for defence support services.
Minister for Defence Procurement Philip Dunne said:
The Hawk is a world-class training aircraft for our future fast jet aircrew. Pilots currently flying Typhoons and Tornados with such precision targeting Daesh in Iraq and Syria to keep Britain safe first learnt their skills in the Hawk. It will also be used to train the pilots that will fly our new F-35s, some of the most advanced aircraft in the world.
The contracts to support these vital training aircraft are a boost to British industry, sustaining hundreds of jobs across the UK – all made possible by our growing Defence budget and our £178 billion investment in buying and maintaining the best possible kit for our Armed Forces.
Contracts worth almost £300 million have been awarded to BAE Systems to provide in-service support and Post-Design Services for Hawk TMk1 and TMk2. The contracts include design advice and modification and obsolescence management, with the company using RAF Valley in Anglesey, Wales, as its main support service hub.
In order to deliver the contracts, BAE Systems and its maintenance partner Babcock, has around 470 people based at RAF Valley, 65 at RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire and 55 at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall. It also has 65 people based at Brough in East Riding of Yorkshire and around another 20 across its sites in Warton and Samlesbury in Lancashire.
A £79 million contract has also been placed with Rolls-Royce to provide support for the ‘Adour’ engines which power the Hawk aircraft, with testing, repairs and overhauls taking place at RAF Valley and in Filton, Bristol sustaining 40 jobs across both sites.
Director Combat Air at DE&S, the MOD’s procurement and support organisation, Air Vice Marshal Sue Gray said:
These new contracts to support our fleet of Hawk fast jets sets the support service bar higher than ever before.
Our partners, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce, will provide through-life support, including maintenance and the provision of spares, while delivering cost savings and providing a high level of aircraft availability, all of which will ensure our future fast jet pilots have the right equipment to conduct their flying training.