A £450 million contract for the maintenance and support of the RAF's Typhoon fleet of aircraft over the next five years has been announced by Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies, today, Wednesday 4 March 2009.
The contract has been placed with BAE Systems for initial delivery and further development of the Typhoon Availability Service (TAS) which is focused around building partnering arrangements with BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce for both the aircraft and engines.
This will be centred at RAF Coningsby, the main operating base for the Typhoon fleet, over the next few years, but also includes the BAE Systems sites at Warton and Samlesbury.
TAS will play a major role in ensuring the availability of the Typhoon fleet to meet its standing and future operational commitments, drawing on best practice and lessons learnt on previous MOD and BAE Systems support arrangement contracts.
The contract will also create up to 150 highly-skilled new jobs and sustain a further 350 at its peak.
Minister for Defence Equipment and Support Quentin Davies said:
"This is excellent news for both the MOD and UK industry with the creation of some 150 new jobs, mostly at RAF Coningsby, over the five-year term of this initial contract. The Typhoon programme directly employs some 16,000 aerospace and engineering staff in some of the UK's leading companies, and many more throughout the supply chain - this is important militarily and industrially to the UK.
"This contract will ensure the Typhoon fleet is able to meet its operational commitments and will continue to deliver as a world-class capability as the cornerstone of the UK's air defence capabilities. We are committed to building strong partnering arrangements with UK industry, in this case to get more efficient support for our front-line Typhoon fighter force."
TAS represents the culmination of the work undertaken with BAE Systems on support for the aircraft and its systems, excluding the engine.
Overall management of TAS will be conducted jointly at RAF Coningsby by senior representatives of the MOD and BAE Systems. This management activity will be responsible for ensuring that the priorities of TAS are aligned with the requirements for aircraft availability.
The Typhoon Integrated Project Team Leader, Air Commodore Chris Bushell, said:
"Today's announcement is intended to maximise aircraft availability by using the most cost-effective solution. Typhoon has now been operational in the air defence role for well over a year and a multi-role capability was integrated and declared combat-ready by the RAF in July 2008. The signature of the TAS contract builds on this success."
TAS will initially be a five-year contract, which is anticipated to be followed by a longer ten-year contract, drawing on the lessons learned and experience gained in the initial period. Currently, over 200 BAE Systems employees work on the TAS contract across RAF Coningsby and the BAE Systems sites of Samlesbury and Warton. This will grow to 500 by the end of 2009. (ends)