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BAE Systems in Saudi jets deal hopes at Samlesbury base
DEFENCE giant BAE Systems is in talks with Saudia Arabia over a deal which could see up to 30 Hawk trainer aircraft being made at its factory in Samlesbury, it has been revealed.
And it is hoped the contract could have a wider effect on the region as a whole, helping to boost jobs at companies along the supply chain.
The agreement with the Middle Eastern kingdom, which has already placed an order for 72 Eurofighter Typhoon jets, could provide a welcomed relief for the company, which is due to end production at its plant in Brough, East Yorkshire, axing 845 jobs.
It is thought the deal will come too late to save the Brough plant, but may spark calls for the company to rethink its shutdown plan.
Production of the planes, will be shared between the company’s two Lancashire plants at Samlesbury and Warton.
It was reported in January that more than half of the two sites’ 1,400 workers were being redeployed or made redundant.
At its annual meeting earlier this month BAE bosses blamed cuts in defence budgets in the UK and in America for the cuts, reporting a 14 per cent fall in 2011 revenues to £19.2billion.
East Lancashire businessman and aerospace campaigner Dennis Mendoros said the deal was excellent news not just for East Lancashire, but for the whole of the North West.
He said: “Approximately, for every new job that is protected by BAE, another six or seven in Lancashire are affected so we believe it definitely makes an impact.”
Nigel Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley, said he would be writing to the prime minister to ensure the deal was given ‘full and enthusiastic’ support.
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