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17 Dec 04. The Secretary of State for Defence, Mr Geoff Hoon, stood shoulder to shoulder with Britain’s defence aerospace industry today (not a familiar role!) as he confirmed that a four-nation contract for the second batch of Typhoon aircraft.

The contract – worth a total of €14bn across Europe – covers the supply of a further 236 aircraft to Europe’s leading Air Forces, and also brings forward operational capability planned for later variants of the aircraft to deliver a powerful swing-role aircraft far earlier than envisaged.

The commitment to Tranche 2 reflects the confidence generated by the aircraft’s outstanding performance as it has entered service with the RAF. During press conferences at both the RAF’s first base to operate Typhoon, RAF Coningsby, and at BAE Systems Warton plant, the current home of Typhoon, the Secretary of State commented:

“I am delighted to announce the contract signature which will see the second tranche of Typhoon aircraft assembled at BAE Systems Warton. Warton has been manufacturing equipment for the RAF for many years, ranging from the Lightning to the Tornado and will play a vital role in the success of the Typhoon programme. This order is excellent news for British industry. The UK part of the Tranche 2 Typhoon order is worth £4.3 billion and not only underlines the Governments’s belief in the excellence of Warton’s BAE Systems workforce but more generally represents a vote of confidence in the UK aerospace industry.”

The contract represents a major milestone for both the Typhoon programme, and for UK Industry. BAE Systems, the UK’s largest defence contractor, holds responsibility for the design of many of the key systems of the cutting-edge Typhoon, manufactures major units including the front and rear fuselage, and will also assemble all 232 of the RAF’s aircraft. Rolls Royce, a 36% shareholder in Eurojet, the European consortium responsible for the EJ200 engine that powers Typhoon, produces the combustion system, high pressure turbine, intermediate casing and other components, and will also assemble, test and deliver 195 engines for the RAF.

The Tranche 2 contract is worth some £4.3bn to BAE Systems and £750m to Rolls Royce, and at peak production, the Typhoon programme will help sustain 5,000 jobs at BAE Systems, 4,000 throughout Rolls Royce and its supply chain and up to 16,000 in total the UK aerospace industry.

Speaking at the press conference, Mike Turner, Chief Executive of BAE Systems emphasised the importance of programmes like Typhoon to the UK’s ability to maintain and enhance the technology, skills and capabilities required to fulfil both industry’s and Government’s future requirements. He praised the performance of both the aircraft and the workforce, commenting:

“Seeing Typhoon make such an impressive entrance to its service life has been just reward for our employees, and for those who work tirelessly in the supply chain to support us. This superb product is one of which our workforce can be justifiably proud. The Tranche Two contract represents many months of hard work, and is a clear and balanced result. I must thank all those who have worked so hard to bring us here.”

He was joined by Colin Green, President of Rolls-Royce Defence Aerospace, who added, “We are obviously delighted to finalise this agreement which brings stability to our future production and underpins around 4000 high skilled jobs for Rolls-Royce and its supply chain. The EJ200 engine is already earning plaudits for its performance from the RAF and we are achieving landmark availability levels both through its superior design and our innovative support activities.”

Comment: Two down, one to go. The decision by the Greek Government to restart the competition for new fighter aircraft is a blow to the project and Tranche 3 hopes as 60 aircraft were earmarked here. Austria remains a firm customer following the

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