THE Ministry of Defence is investing £695 million over the next 11 years to provide in-service support to the Royal Air Force’s fleet of Hawk T2 training aircraft and the Hawk T1 jets flown by the Red Arrows.
This will support hundreds of jobs at RAF Valley in Anglesey.
Valley is home to a fleet of 28 Hawk T2 jets.
These aircraft provide fast jet training for trainee pilots as part of the UK Military Flying Training System (UK MFTS) programme.
UK MFTS provides the aircraft, synthetics and training devices to train the next generation of front-line aircrew of all three Services. Upon graduation, these pilots will go on to fly F-35B Lightning and Typhoon fighter jets.
Defence Procurement Minister, Jeremy Quin, said: “This contract will provide aircraft support to maintain the delivery of pilot training and the Red Arrows long into the future. It underlines our commitment to providing the highest quality training and aircraft to the future pilots of our Armed Forces.”
The Hawk Integrated Support Solution comprises of two separate contracts placed by the MOD’s procurement arm, Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S). These contracts will provide support for Hawk T2 aircraft, and the T1 Hawks used by the RAF’s Aerobatics Team, the Red Arrows.
The Hawk contract with BAE Systems (BAES), valued at £590m, will cover all Hawk T2 airframe support elements. This work will ensure the Hawk aircraft continue as global ambassadors for the UK.
In addition, a separate £105m contract for engine support has been placed with Rolls-Royce.
Air Vice Marshal Simon Ellard, Director Combat Air at DE&S, said: “This is a major milestone for UK MFTS and the culmination of many months of hard work from the team at DE&S. Through this investment, we will continue to train our student pilots to become the best in the business.”
Group Captain Andy Turk, Station Commander RAF Valley, added: “The announcement represents excellent news for Anglesey, our workforce, and for sustaining our core business of delivering world class training to our future fighter pilots.
“The Hawk T2 is a fantastic platform to train our Typhoon and Lightning pilots on, readying them for the demands of the frontline; this level of ongoing investment ensures UK Defence will retain our military edge within the contested air environment.”
The new contract will secure more than 500 highly skilled jobs working for BAES and its maintenance partner, Babcock International.
These are mainly based at RAF Valley, with a small number of BAES support roles located at their other UK sites.