Rolls-Royce and MoD sign £690m contract

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A £690 million contract has been signed with Rolls-Royce to provide engine support for the Royal Air Force's Tornado fleet, Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said today.

The 15-year deal covers repair, maintenance, spare parts and technical support, and builds on an existing support contract with the firm.

In a written Commons statement, Mr Ainsworth said the ROCET 2 contract was expected to result in savings of around £180 million over the next 15 years - when the Tornado is due to go out of service.

The Defence Secretary also said the contract was flexible enough to take into account any alterations to the RAF's fast jet fleet arising from a strategic defence review, to be held after the General Election,

"This support contract provides sufficient flexibility for changes in future aircraft numbers, and will deliver excellent value for money for defence," Mr Ainsworth said.

Chris Awde, Rolls-Royce sales and commercial director for defence aerospace, said the contract would build on an agreement that has been in place since 2005.

"Over the four-year period of the ROCET contract we have developed a partnership approach with the UK Ministry of Defence and met every engine availability target that has been set," Mr Awde said outside the Commons.

"The frontline Royal Air Force Tornado squadrons now enjoy a guaranteed level of engine availability and significant savings in their engine support costs. ROCET 2 will enable us to deliver an even higher level of support for the next 15 years."

Rolls-Royce support operations are centred at RAF Marham in Norfolk, but also cover RAF Lossiemouth in Moray and RAF Leuchars in Fife.