BAE Systems has agreed a deal with the MoD whereby it will continue to support the RAF’s Tornado GR4 fleet, some of which are based at RAF Marham, until 2019, when the aircraft are due to be retired.
A £125 million extension to the support contract, which also relates to Tornados based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, was announced by BAE on Wednesday.
The contract follows a £100 million contract received in January for BAE Systems to continue to support the RAF’s Typhoon fleet throughout 2014.
The contract, referred to as ATTAC – Availability Transformation: Tornado Aircraft Contract – guarantees that the Tornado aircraft availability, capability and effectiveness will be maintained throughout its service life. Currently the contract sustains 600 jobs across the UK for BAE Systems.
BAE’s group managing director, Nigel Whitehead, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to agree terms to continue to support the RAF’s fleet of Tornado aircraft until their out of service date.
“The original ATTAC contract has proved highly successful. It’s an excellent example of partnering as it provides an agile and responsive solution to our customer’s needs. This extension will mean we continue to play an essential role in helping the RAF gain operational advantage no matter what the challenge.
“Everyone involved with ATTAC, from our team to the RAF and the MoD has worked tirelessly to ensure the RAF has Tornados available to support operational requirements whilst ensuring the service delivers value for money.”
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “This investment will ensure our Tornado aircraft continue to be battle ready for the next five years, as a key part of the RAF’s fast jet fleet.
“They currently play a vital role in supporting troops on the ground in Afghanistan and they will continue to form the backbone of our ground attack capability until the Joint Strike Fighter arrives and the Typhoon’s ground attack capability is fully mature in a few years’ time. This contract will help sustain the specialist skills across the UK which makes Britain a world leader in engineering.”