Missile deal secures 11,000 jobs

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The Independent Online

Britain's defence industry was today given a significant boost by the Government with the announcement that up to 11,200 jobs could be created or safeguarded in the construction of new missiles and aircraft for the RAF.

A BAe-led consortium has won the near £1 billion contract to fit missiles to the RAF's Eurofighters, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon told the Commons.

And Airbus, the European aeroplane maker in which BAe has a stake, is favoured to supply 25 heavy lift A400Ms to replace the RAF's ageing fleet of Hercules transport aircraft.

Mr Hoon said that the missiles contract would create or sustain 1,200 jobs in the UK, while the A400M programme had the potential to generate up to 10,000 jobs directly and indirectly.

He told MPs that to address the RAF's medium term "heavy lift" needs the Government had decided to lease four C-17 Globemaster aircraft from the Boeing company.

In the longer term the heavy lift needs would be met by the A400M aircraft produced by the Airbus Military Company, conditional on acceptable cost price and other factors.

However, he stressed the Government would turn to Boeing if other EU nations decided not to buy sufficient A400Ms to make the contract viable.