A LANCASHIRE-based defence giant has signed a £125 million contract extension with the government for the RAF’s Tornado GR4 fleet, safeguarding 100 jobs.

BAE Systems, which has based in Samlesbury and Warton, has signed the extension with the Ministry of Defence for the fleet until the aircraft are due to be retired in 2019.

Under the terms of the new contract, the MOD is set to save an estimated £90 million through ‘greater efficiencies in fleet management’.

The contract amendment builds on from the original ‘Availability Transformation: Tornado Aircraft Contract’ (ATTAC) which initially started in 2006 and was due to expire in 2016.

The ATTAC contract provides the RAF with a guarantee that the Tornado aircraft’s availability, capability and effectiveness will be maintained throughout its service life. The overall contract value for the next five years is £490 million, which currently sustains 600 jobs across the UK for BAE Systems.

Nigel Whitehead, group managing director for programmes and support at BAE Systems, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to agree terms to continue to support the RAF’s fleet of Tornado aircraft until their out of service date.

“The original ATTAC contract has proved highly successful.

“It’s an excellent example of partnering as it provides an agile and responsive solution to our customer’s needs.

“This extension will mean we continue to play an essential role in helping the RAF gain operational advantage no matter what the challenge.

“Everyone involved with ATTAC, from our team to the RAF and the MOD has worked tirelessly to ensure the RAF has Tornados available to support operational requirements whilst ensuring the service delivers value for money.”

BAE Systems supports the fleet at RAF Marham in Norfolk and RAF Lossiemouth in Moray.

This contract follows a £100m contract received in January of this year for BAE Systems to continue to support the RAF’s Typhoon fleet throughout 2014.