Formal endorsements to support the development of two National Innovation Centres for Belgium have been signed by companies from the four Eurofighter nations during a visit by the UK's Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriett Baldwin MP.
The Eurofighter partner companies, BAE Systems, Airbus Defence & Space and Leonardo, along with missile systems business MBDA, signed the endorsements in Brussels.
These endorsements signify the companies’ intention to support the establishment of the two centres, one in Flanders and one in Wallonia, if Eurofighter Typhoon is selected by the Belgian Government to replace Belgium’s existing F-16 fleet.
The centres are an essential part of the Eurofighter industrial commitment to further develop Belgium’s world-class defence and aerospace industry as part of a UK Government-led European offer to Belgium through Eurofighter Typhoon.
Anthony Gregory, Campaign Director for Belgium at BAE Systems, said: “With the support of our partner companies across Europe, we are delighted to sign these endorsements which form a key component of our industrial offer to Belgium. These centres in Flanders and Wallonia could not only build on Belgium’s existing capabilities, but also play an essential role in positioning Belgium’s industry for work on future combat aircraft programmes in Europe with key European partners.”
The two centres would focus on advanced manufacturing and additive layer manufacture and see the partner companies invest together with Belgian industry in the development of research agendas specifically targeted at the future technology requirements of the two sectors.
Ivan Gonzalez, of Airbus Defence & Space, added: “The signing of today’s endorsements is a commitment to the creation of these facilities. The two centres will build upon Belgium’s existing skills base and will further support Belgium’s continued strong position in the aerospace market.”
The agreement was signed during a visit of the UK’s Minister for Defence procurement to Brussels and to the headquarters of two Belgian companies, where she outlined the UK Government’s unique and comprehensive European offer to Belgium.
The Minister said: “The creation of these two centres, and the strong co-operation between Belgian industry and the European partner companies on the projects which will follow, are key to developing a stronger, long-term and mutually beneficial defence industrial base.”
BAE Systems is supporting the UK Government in offering the Eurofighter Typhoon as an advanced swing-role, multi-role combat aircraft solution as part of a European offer to Belgium to replace Belgium’s existing fleet of 54 F-16 aircraft.
As part of a comprehensive defence and security offer to Belgium, BAE Systems is also proposing to establish the infrastructure, technology and training to accommodate and run a Belgian National Network Cyber Centre in partnership with the UK and Belgian Governments.