AN East Lancashire aerospace factory has made hundreds of parts for vital ventilators to keep coronavirus patents alive in hospital.

BAE Systems has developed a revolutionary new AirCare device to aid the breathing of victims of Covid-19.

Its military aircraft division factory at Samlesbury 3D-pritned 2,700 parts for 180 ventilators being produced by the firm's Maritime Services business in Portsmouth.

The parts were transferred to the sister Lancashire base at Warton and flown down to the South Coast by BAE Systems Flight Operations team.

In March the firm joined the government's National Ventilator Challenge to ramp up the production of the breathing devices ventilators to meet a national target of 30,000.

This week the government scaled down the number of firms involved from 11 to seven retaining BAE Systems and its AirCare ventilator.

The firm's technical experts developed the new device from scratch in a matter of weeks,using mainly easily available parts, and can now produce 1,000 a week.

The company's chief technology officer Ben Hudson recruited engineers and craftsmen from Samlesbury to provide specialist engineering support while also using their industrial-scale 3D printers - which are also laking PPE for frontline health workers - to produce hundreds of new ventilator parts.

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans said: "I am absolutely delighted with BAE Systems. The firm and it's workforce, especially at Samlesbury, have shown exceptional flexibi lity in developing and switching production to ventilators and other equipment needed in the fight against Covid-19.These devices are vital to save lives.

"BAE Systems engineers and craftsmen are now numbered among the heroes of the war against coronavirus. Congratulations Samlesbury."

Mr Hudson said: "Thanks to an incredibly dedicated and talented team who worked day and night to draw on the incredible advanced engineering and manufacturing expertise we have in BAE Systems, we went from a concept to a functioning design in just a few weeks, something that would typically take up to a year.

"The efforts made by those that contributed to the AirCare project is our small way of demonstrating how much we truly value the sacrifices made by our health care workers on behalf of all of us.”