Home news Red Arrows jets could have to be built abroad, MPs warn

Red Arrows jets could have to be built abroad, MPs warn

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The UK’s iconic aerobatics team the Red Arrows could soon be flying jets built overseas following BAE Systems’ plan to axe nearly 2,000 jobs, MPs have warned.In a letter to the prime minister, 142 MPs have called for the renewal of RAF Red Arrows’ fleet of Hawk Tm1 jets.The group warned that unless new contracts were signed soon, there would be “virtually no possibility to build any future Hawk aircraft in the UK”.The MoD said there was “no requirement” to replace the jets before 2030.The letter has been co-ordinated by Diana Johnson, the Labour MP for Kingston Upon Hull North, and Andrew Percy, the Conservative MP for Brigg and Goole, whose constituency includes BAE workers.It was sent after BAE Systems announced plans to cut almost 2,000 jobs in military, maritime and intelligence services.About 40% of a new Hawk is manufactured at the company’s site at Brough, East Yorkshire, and the rest at Warton and Samlesbury in Lancashire.

Proposed redundancies by location (approximate figures)Warton and Samlesbury, Lancashire – 750
Brough, East Yorkshire – 400
RAF Marham, Norfolk – 230
RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire – 15
Portsmouth and Solent region – 340
London, Guildford and other Applied Intelligence locations – 150
Other UK locations – 30
Total – 1,915

The MPs wrote: “All Hawk manufacturing at the Brough site will cease at the end of 2019.”If this were to happen, there would be virtually no possibility to build any future Hawk aircraft in the UK.”If the Red Arrows are allowed to continue flying Hawk Tmk1 aircraft until 2030, and the UK has lost the capability and skills to build a replacement aircraft of any type with a similar flight capability, then any future Red Arrows aerobatics team would have to have its aircraft produced from abroad.”The cross-party group, which includes 120 Labour MPs, 21 Tories and DUP chief whip Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, urged the government to look “immediately and closely at the option of whether or not the replacement of the Red Arrows could be brought forwards”.The letter comes as the Red Arrows, based at RAF Scampton, in Lincolnshire, returned home from an overseas tour of 11 countries in support of a government campaign to promote the UK.An MoD spokesperson said: “There is no requirement to replace the Red Arrows Hawk T1 aircraft.”The Hawk T1 is due to remain in service until 2030, as set out by the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015.”Any decision about replacements is unlikely to be taken until after the end of this Parliament.”
Source: BBC