31 May 2012
BAE wins huge order for Hawks
BAE Systems has won a £1.9 billion contract to sell Hawk training jets to Saudi Arabia. The Hawk is produced at BAE’s plant in Brough, East Yorkshire, which had been earmarked for closure; the trade union Unite now expects the facility to remain open, with over 200 staff retained there. BAE said last year that it planned to end manufacturing at the site, with the loss of 800-plus jobs.
The Saudi deal also includes simulators, ground and training equipment and spares. Ben Wallace, chairman of a House of Commons group of MPs interested in Iran, said the announcement was “really good news”. The Conservative MP for Wyre and Preston North said the Government had been trying for a long time to increase aerospace sales, and the Saudi deal was “the result of a lot of hard work behind the scenes”. He defended arms deals with Saudi Arabia, saying the country was “stable, strong and moving towards human rights reform.”
Meanwhile, BAE Systems has been awarded a £328 million contract to design the UK’s next generation of submarines at its facility in
Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, The vessels are intended to replace the Vanguard class of submarines, which carry the Trident nuclear missiles. BAE employs more than 5,000 people in its submarine business, primarily at Barrow. The Vanguard successors are due to be delivered to the Royal Navy from 2028.
John Hudson, managing director of BAE Systems Maritime Submarines, said the signing of the contract by the Ministry of Defence is a “key step forward” for the Barrow site, which is currently building seven Astute-class attack submarines. He added: “Not only does it help sustain the jobs of over 1,000 skilled employees currently working on the project, but it also provides the opportunity to grow our workforce by a further 280 in 2012.” The Government has also awarded contracts to Babcock and Rolls-Royce, which will design the submarine’s nuclear reactor. The MoD said the deals would sustain or create 1,900 jobs at sites across the UK.