The country’s air force wants to expand its frontline fleet with 20 new Eurofighter Typhoon – taking the total number of the aircraft in Europe to 545, delivered or on order.
The announcement follows an order for 38 new Typhoons for Germany in November 2020 and work is now underway on production of components for these aircraft at BAE Systems' facilities in Samlesbury and Warton, with engineering teams supporting work on advanced new radar and sensors.
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BAE Systems leads the overall design, development, manufacture, upgrade and support for Typhoon aircraft in the UK and will be responsible for manufacturing more than a third of components for every Spanish aircraft, including the aircraft’s front fuselage and tail, under a contract worth in excess of £500m.
More than 5,000 BAE Systems employees directly support the Typhoon programme in the UK, supporting more than 10,000 jobs in the UK economy as a whole.
The order from Spain maintains continuity of Typhoon production in the UK beyond the middle of the decade.
"One of world’s most successful”
Andrea Thompson, managing director – Europe and International for BAE Systems’ Air sector, and Chair of the Eurofighter Supervisory Board, said: "The Spanish Government’s commitment to purchasing additional Typhoons reinforces its position as one of the world’s most successful combat military aircraft.
"Every day we are seeing the important role which it plays in delivering air security in the skies over Europe and this investment only strengthens the international partnership which Eurofighter underpins.
"The fact that an existing Typhoon operator is committing to buying additional aircraft only reinforces their confidence in the aircraft and its performance.
"Our people will now work alongside our Eurofighter partners to ensure we provide the Spanish Air Force with the aircraft it needs to secure its skies for decades to come."
Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “This is great news for manufacturing in Fylde.
“While final assembly of the aircraft will be in Spain this will ensure component production continues here, supporting jobs, skills and training in Fylde and across Lancashire.
“Further export orders, to an existing customer, show the continuing strength of the Typhoon programme.”
However, Unite national officer for aerospace Rhys McCarthy was more cautious.
He said: “This announcement is good news but we must remember that this a small part of jigsaw that maintains the UK Sovereign capability. This is a Spanish government contract and most of the work will be done in Spain.
“What we urgently need is for the UK Government to put in its own new order for the latest version of the Typhoon to and upgrade existing aircraft. The RAF is currently flying 24/7 to protect eastern and southern NATO borders and this is unsustainable.
"We also need to bridge the gap for the development of the UK led Tempest sixth generation future fighter programme. You can only do this by maintaining the current skills, technology and jobs.”
The order will see the Eurofighter consortium deliver aircraft equipped with an advanced new electronically-scanning radar, ensuring it is ready to be part of the future battlespace into the 2060s and beyond.
Final assembly of the aircraft for Spain will be undertaken by Airbus in Getafe, Spain, with deliveries scheduled to commence from 2025.
The Typhoon aircraft will replace Spain’s ageing F-18 Hornet aircraft based at Gando Air Base in the Canary Islands.