MPs scramble to rescue iconic Red Arrows’ Hawk jets

15 Oct

The Red Arrows aerobatic team risk being reduced to also-rans if they are forced to adopt foreign-built aircraft, a former head of the Royal Air Force has said.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon said it was vital for the display team to fly British aircraft after 142 MPs warned the Prime Minister their jets may have to be bought from overseas unless the Government intervenes.

A cross-party letter has called for orders of replacements of the Red Arrows’ Hawk T1 jet to be brought forward to save jobs at BAE Systems and keep production in the UK.

BAE announced last week it is planning to cut nearly 2,000 skilled manufacturing jobs. Many of the cuts are in the defence giant’s aircraft sector, where orders for Typhoon fighter jets have slowed.

The MPs’ letter warned that if Britain waits until the scheduled retirement date of 2030 to replace the Red Arrows’ jets, then the UK may have lost the ability to build a replacement. Without new orders, BAE’s Hawk production is due to close in 2019.

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