`Loss of India jet deal to have consequences`

Last Updated: Thursday, February 2, 2012 - 21:38

London: A prominent UK trade union has warned
that India`s decision to opt for 126 French-made Rafale fighter jets instead of the UK-backed Typhoon aircraft will have "serious implications" for the UK aerospace industry.

"We are concerned about the serious implications this
decision may have and want urgent talks with the company about
future plans for the workforce," Ian Waddell, national officer
for aerospace and shipbuilding at Unite, said.

Unite warned the selection of the Rafale could have
"serious implications" for BAE Systems and the UK aerospace
industry. It is estimated that 40,000 UK jobs are supported by
the project, The Telegraph said.

"The latest decision by the Indian government to select a
French fighter aircraft over the BAE Systems Typhoon,
highlights how important it is to support British jobs when it
is within the power of the government to do so," Waddell said.

Last year, BAE cut 3,000 jobs in the UK, partly because
it had won fewer export orders for the Typhoon than planned.

"This government should be using procurement to support
British companies, rather than using it against them," Waddell

The Typhoon is made by Britain`s BAE, European giant
EADS, and Italy`s Finmeccanica. The UK accounts for 37.5 per
cent of production with the aircraft assembled at BAE`s
aerospace facilities in Lancashire and suppliers including
GKN, Ultra Electronics and Rolls-Royce.

India`s fighter deal with France is a blow to British
Prime Minister David Cameron, because the contract could lay
the groundwork for a strategic partnership with India, The
Telegraph said.
"Cameron personally lobbied Indian prime minister
Manmohan Singh last year while Britain`s Air Chief Marshal Sir
Stephen Dalton met his Indian counterpart in Calcutta," the
paper said.

Reacting to India`s decision, Cameron yesterday said he
would do "everything he can" to "encourage" India to
reconsider its decision to acquire French-made Rafale fighter
jets instead of the UK-backed Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

"Of course, I will do everything I can, as I have
already, to encourage the Indians to look at Typhoon,"
Cameron told Parliament.
India announced on Tuesday that it will opt for
Dassault Rafale fighter jets under the biggest-ever military
contract that may be worth over USD 10 billion.

"The decision is obviously disappointing," Cameron
said, insisting that the contract had not yet been awarded to
the French firm.

Cameron said the Typhoon was "a superb aircraft, with
further capability than Rafale and we will try to encourage
the Indians to take that view".


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First Published: Thursday, February 2, 2012 - 21:38

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