Exports will secure factories

Chris Boardman, Managing Director, BAE Systems Military Air & Information.
Chris Boardman, Managing Director, BAE Systems Military Air & Information.
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The boss of Lancashire defence giant BAE Systems has said selling its fighter jets overseas is key to retaining its “good state.”

Chris Boardman, managing director of the firm’s Military Air and Information (MAI) division, admitted the past year had been “hectic” for the company as it battled to save 1,400 jobs at its plants at

Warton and Samlesbury, near Preston.

Slashed defence budgets in the United Kingdom and United States, the company’s two key markets, meant it was forced to cut costs.

In an exclusive column for the Evening Post’s lepbusinessyear supplement on Tuesday, Mr Boardman said the company had to take

“difficult decisions” although minimised compulsory redundancies.

He added: “Another effect of the squeeze on Western defence budgets was that BAE Systems sharpened its focus on international markets.

“It’s a strategy that provided some of 2012’s high points for the business, with a pre-Christmas order for (Eurofighter) Typhoon and Hawk from Oman which came on top of an earlier order from Saudi Arabia for Hawk.

“Getting the orders from Saudi Arabia and Oman were really important because international success is key for us. We are not going to see the UK, Europe and US bounce back overnight.

“We have got to do even more than we are doing presently in the rest of the world.”

Read Chris Boardman’s column in full along with exclusive columns from the key voices in Lancashire’s business community, only in your Evening Post this Tuesday.