£50m defence deal to be signed
A £50 million defence contract which will boost the RAF and UK manufacturing is due to be signed as the Farnborough Air Show opens in Hampshire.
Hailed by Prime Minister David Cameron, the contract is being placed by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for a full flight simulator for the Airbus A400M.
The simulator will be located at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. It is designed and built by Thales Training and Simulation in Crawley, West Sussex, with the contract helping sustain 50 high-tech UK jobs and skills.
The MoD has ordered 22 of the A400Ms to replace the fleet of C-130 Hercules, with the first delivery expected in 2014.
Mr Cameron also announced £3 million of Government funding for 500 degree-level places in aerospace engineering over the next three years. The students will either be company employees or new graduates.
It was also announced that the next steps for exploiting potential future capabilities of the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft had been agreed by the fighter aircraft's partners - the UK, Spain, Germany and Italy.
Steps include the integration of the Meteor missile, an E-Scan radar, enhancements of the defensive aids system, further development of the air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities and integration of new weapons.
The announcements follow last week's Government decision to axe 17 major army units, reducing the number of regular soldiers by 20,000 by 2020.
Mr Cameron said: "In a hugely difficult time in the global economy UK aerospace is, quite simply, flying - employing more than 100,000 people, turning over more than £20 billion a year, holding a 17% share of the global market.
"But there can be absolutely no complacency. International competition gets more fierce by the year. The UK has got to fight for every contract and every opportunity."