Korea jet deal hope for BAE Systems

The Eurofighter jet

The Eurofighter jet

First published in East Lancashire Chorley Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Assistant news editor

A BID to supply Eurofighter Typhoons to South Korea is being made by a four-nation consortium, it has been revealed.

The European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS), the German partner in the Eurofighter consortium, is competing with US giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin for South Korea’s fighter jet programme.

The bid is being led by Cassidian Spain, an EADS company, on behalf of the consortium.

It has offered to manufacture 48 out of 60 planes in local factories if it wins the multi-billion dollar deal, according to reports.

The multi-national defence firm EADS’s Eurofighter Tranche 3 has been bidding with Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth jet and Boeing’s F-15 Silent Eagle for the $7.3billion contract to replace the South Korean Air Force’s ageing fleet of F-4s and F-5s from 2016. Parts for the Typhoon are made at BAE Samlesbury and Warton, near Preston, employing thousands of workers from East Lancashire.

Phil Entwistle, manual convener at BAE Samlesbury, which employs 1,500 manual workers, said he had not heard anything officially from the company.

He said: “It has come as a surprise, but if it’s factual and we are competing in South Korea, I would like to think some of that work would come to BAE Samlesbury.

“It is too early to say what it entails as I’ve not been told anything officially from the company. It depends if we are successful in the downselection against Lockheed Martin and Boeing.”

A spokesman from BAE said: “The Eurofighter consortium is in competition to supply fast jets to South Korea.

“The Eurofighter bid is being led by Cassidian Spain on behalf of the consortium. It is too early to speculate on either the outcome of the competition or the allocation of the work.”

EADS said it would import 12 jets and 48 planes would be built by the Korea Aerospace Industries if it won the deal. An announcement is due in June.

Military leaders in South Korea have pledged to proceed with big weapons procurement projects to deal with the growing threat from North Korea.

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