December 19 2014 Latest news:
By Chris Bishop
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
More than 600 engineering jobs will be secured across the country by a £125 million MoD contract to maintain, repair and upgrade the RAF’s Tornado fast jets.
The MoD said its contract with BAE Systems would also deliver savings of up to £90m for the taxpayer compared to the original agreement, after the two organisations identified more efficient ways of working.
The contract will involve work at Marham, RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, RAF Leeming in Yorkshire and at BAE System sites in Warton and Samlesbury.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “This investment will ensure our Tornado aircraft continue to be battle ready for the next five years, as a key part of the RAF’s fast jet fleet.
“They currently play a vital role in supporting troops on the ground in Afghanistan and they will continue to form the backbone of our ground attack capability until the Joint Strike Fighter arrives and the Typhoon’s ground attack capability is fully mature in a few years’ time.
“This contract will help sustain the specialist skills across the UK which make Britain a world leader in engineering.”
A multi role aircraft, the Tornado GR4 can fly at supersonic speeds at up to 50,000 feet carrying some of the most advanced reconnaissance and surveillance equipment in the world.
Three squadrons of the aircraft - around half of the total fleet - are based at Marham. BAE systems moved its maintenance facility onto the base in 2005, becoming a major source of skilled, well-paid jobs in rural Norfolk.
The contract will run until the aircraft are retired at the end of the decade and replaced by Typhoon and Lightning II jets.