The Ministry of Defence is buying a flight simulator for the Airbus A400M military transport plane in a £50 million contract that will give UK manufacturing a boost. Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the deal had been signed at this week's Farnborough Air Show.
The simulator will be designed and built by Thales Training and Simulation in Crawley, West Sussex, with the contract helping to sustain 50 high-tech UK jobs.
The MoD has ordered 22 of the A400M aircraft to replace the fleet of C-130 Hercules, with the first delivery expected in 2014.
The flight simulator will be located at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
Cameron also announced £3 million of government funding for 500 degree-level places in aerospace engineering over the next three years.
“We're investing in skills, including 500 masters-level qualifications in aerospace engineering. We're pulling every lever we've got to make sure those good, high-skilled jobs come to Britain and stay in Britain,” he said.
Business secretary Vince Cable commented: “The aerospace sector is a national success story and to ensure we stay ahead of the game we need to attract the brightest and best to the industry.
“Our new masters partnership will boost the skills needed for growth. It will enable companies to train up existing employees and get talented new people into the aerospace sector.”
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.”
He said the government was doing everything possible to get behind UK aerospace, establishing a growth partnership “to make sure that five, 10, 20 years down the line this industry continues to thrive and grow”.
Cameron added: “The further development of Typhoon that we have been working on with our partners is good for the RAF who need this capability, good for our export customers who want it too and brilliant for the British manufacturers and workers who are going to benefit.
“From this government you will see nothing less than an unstinting, unrelenting, unflagging commitment to making Britain the best place in the world for aerospace businesses to invest, design, manufacture and export.”