Major backing for UK’s aerospace industry

STEALTH: The F-35, parts of which are built at Samlesbury, Lancashire
STEALTH: The F-35, parts of which are built at Samlesbury, Lancashire
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BAE Systems has secured contracts to install and assess micro-sensors on a number of the UK’s Royal Air Force aircraft.

The news came on a good day for the defence industry as BAE Systems reached a milestone in its F-35 programme and Boeing announced a long-term partnership with the Government to double its number of jobs in the UK.

The US plane maker intends to build a new £100million facility for the P-8A Poseidon military aircraft at RAF Lossiemouth in Moray.

BAE Systems, which employs around 10,000 in Lancashire, has been awarded contracts of more than £5m by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory.

The contracts will see BAE Systems’ highly-skilled scientists fit and assess corrosion sensors in hard-to-reach areas of Sentinel airborne battlefield and ground surveillance aircraft.

These will inform maintenance teams when the jets need to be mechanically opened to check for corrosion.

Dave Holmes, manufacturing operations director at BAE Systems, said: “The contracts underline the level of innovation, capability and talent we have within our company and will help the UK remain at the forefront of military aircraft technological advancements. This work will not only save the RAF time and money by utilising the technology of our corrosion sensors, but also ensuring its aircraft utilises the best advanced materials available.”

The corrosion sensors developed and manufactured at the Filton site will also be used on the full global fleet of F-35 aircraft, parts of which are built at Samlesbury.

Meanwhile BAE Systems has completed the 250th aft fuselage for the F-35 Lightning II programme.

Manufactured on the Company’s state-of-the-art integrated assembly line, the section will be equipped and rigorously tested. Once this is complete, the fuselage will be transported to Lockheed Martin’s final assembly facility in Fort Worth, Texas, where it will be integrated with the rest of the aircraft.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I want the UK to continue to be at the forefront of the global aerospace industry.”