Thursday, April 29, 2010

BAE has edge in dogfight over £1bn Iraq order

The Iraqi Government is in talks to buy 24 Hawk trainer jets for up to £1 billion in a deal that would be the country’s first large arms purchase from the UK for more than 20 years.Military insiders have told The Times that officials from the Iraqi Air Force will be in Britain in May and June to test the Hawk, which is used by the Royal Air Force to train fast-jet pilots.The BAE Systems Hawk is being considered alongside jets from Korea and Italy as Iraq starts to rebuild an air force that was destroyed by coalition forces during the Gulf War.The deal could be worth £500 million initially, rising to £1 billion over the life of the aircraft once servicing and maintenance contracts are included.

If Hawk wins the Iraqi competition, it will be a significant milestone in the rebirth of an aircraft that some analysts had written off. Declining orders for Hawk had forced Europe’s largest defence company to cut 450 jobs at Brough, near Hull, two years ago.Separately, India is set to order another 60 Hawks in addition to the 66 it has already booked. That deal could be announced within weeks.BAE has entered a joint venture with Hindustan Aeronautics to assemble the Hawk in India, but a large portion of the work will be done in the


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