BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Babcock are said to have won a maintenance contract from the ministry of defence. Under the £372m (€473.21m, $529.52m) contract, the three will service and support the BAE-made Hawk jets, which are used in training Typhoon and Tornado fighter pilots by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Royal Navy.
The contract consolidates the existing work already completed by BAE and Babcock. Apart from providing maintenance and servicing, the two companies will also assist in upgrading the software of the jets. The Rolls-Royce contract involves servicing the Ardour engines that these jets are fitted with.
Philip Dunne, Minister for Defence Procurement said: "The Hawk is a world-class training aircraft for our future fast jet air crew. The contracts to support these vital training aircraft are a boost to British industry, sustaining hundreds of jobs across the UK."
The contract will help in supporting about 700 jobs across the RAF and Navy bases in Wales, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Somerset and Cornwall. These jobs will be supported until the end of the decade. Of these 700 employees, 470 are based at Anglesey in Wales to service the jets, making this site the largest among all other in terms of support staff.
While the maintenance of the jets was earlier undertaken by the RAF and the Navy, the new contract brings the two defence divisions under the same roof. The move follows pressure on the UK government to save costs while awarding defence contracts which had led to the setting up of the Single Source Regulations Office, an independent body which was set up in 2015 to more closely examine such procurement processes.
The Hawk jets which are also exported by BAE to countries such as Saudi Arabia and India have been used for training by more than 20,000 pilots worldwide. BAE is said to have more than 1,000 such jets delivered or on order, according to the Financial Times.