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‘It would have been a game changer...’

A Tranche 3 Typhoon and (below) Phil Entwistle.

A Tranche 3 Typhoon and (below) Phil Entwistle.

Union chiefs have described the loss of a multi-billion pound aircraft contract as “a huge blow”.

As reported in The Gazette on Friday, BAE Systems, which employs thousands of people at its site at Warton, announced it had been in negotiations to supply the Typhoon Aircraft to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

However, the Arab nation has now backed out of the deal.

Phil Entwistle, the Unite union’s spokesman for the Warton unit, said: “It’s a huge blow obviously because it would’ve been a massive contract, and it would have been a game changer for Warton.

“There’s no immediate impact on jobs for us.

“It’s just that this contract, had it been signed, would have seen us through into a bit of longevity.

“It’s not the best news before Christmas but we’re still recruiting at Warton and we’ve got a healthy order book for the next two or three years, but this would have been the icing on the cake.”

BAE says it had not factored the proposed £6.1bn deal, which would have seen it provide 60 Eurofighter Typhoon jets to the UAE, into its future plans.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “Everyone has worked extremely hard on pulling this together and it is not that the contract has not been won, just that the UAE is not in a position to make an order at present.

“We had wanted to replicate the deal which was announced with Oman this time last year but unfortunately it was not to be.

“However, while this would have been a valuable contract I’ve been told it would have been in addition to an already strong export order book.

“Any jobs which it would have brought would have been extra and the management at BAE Systems has today assured me this will have no effect on those already working for the company.”

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