BAE Systems, the biggest defence contractor in Europe, has just won a very lucrative five-year contract that covers the engineering support of Eurofighter Typhoon jets. The company said that the order will serve to sustain about 600 jobs at BAE’s plants in Wharton and Samlesbury.
The jobs involved will provide the infrastructure for future enhancements of the Typhoon’s air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities, and it will also be the basis of day to day support for the air force operations of Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK. Potential increases in operational requirements include coverage of Olympic-related transport, amongst other projects.
Head of Unite Union James Cameron said that the new contract will be a boon to workers in this field, but with the caveat that the jobs secured for the next four or five years are only part of the progress needed; he said more export orders are necessary to insure the company stays in the forefront of its industry.
BAE needed the good news, as it recently lost a big contract (£5.1 billion) to supply jets to Japan, and reportedly is on the verge of losing another deal with the Indian Air Force. In addition, BAE employees voted in March to forfeit a day’s pay per month as a stopgap measure to prevent job losses.