New jet sales key for BAE
The ongoing ambition to secure multi-billion pound aircraft orders at BAE Warton could help secure workers’ jobs for years to come.
As work continues apace to assemble Typhoon and Hawk jets at the Fylde coast site, bosses have revealed they are in negotiations with Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and South Korea.
It was also revealed the company has aspirations for potential deals with Poland, India and Romania.
Business development director for combat air, Mark Parkinson, said negotiations were at different stages, but said it presented good news for the 11,500 staff at BAE Warton and BAE Samlesbury in the North West.
He added: “We’ve shown in recent years the success we’ve had with the Tornado programme, the Jaguar, as well as the Typhoon and now the Hawk operation.
“In terms of the Typhoon, we’ve sold it to seven countries. We’re now delivering 15 jets to Austria, 28 to Saudi Arabia and 12 to Oman.
“Going forwards, we’re hoping to secure packages with South Korea, potentially India and possibly Romania – it’s a busy time.”
One of the latest success stories at Warton is the Hawk programme. Operations manager Alistair Spavold explained his team has enjoyed a whirlwind few months, as construction transferred from Brough in Yorkshire, to the Warton Aerodrome.
He said: “It’s amazing to think not to long ago, this was an empty hangar. Much of the work we’ve done has gone unnoticed. Construction equipment is steel-based, so is robust, but heavy too. We’ve found we’ve had reinforce the hangar floor to cope with this – after all, it was built shortly after the Second World War.
“We’ll build a minimum of 18 aircraft a year here, but at a push can build up to 24.”
Despite the success of the Hawk programme, the jewel in the crown remains the development of the Typhoon jet.
At Warton, parts constructed from four countries across Europe are assembled using the latest technology.
Steve Oldman, operations manager, explaining the level of accuracy required when constructing a jet engine, said: “Using lasers, we can accurately construct the Typhoon. We have leeway of 3mm from nose to fin in difference, but we find now we get it to around 1.5mm. It helps the plane remain aerodynamic and gives it the best performance possible.
“It really is world-class technology.”