BAE Systems to recruit 400 apprentices

Attempts to increase fuel efficiency by reducing the jet’s weight have also made it more vulnerable to enemy attack than the generation of aircraft it was supposed to replace

British defence giant BAE Systems is to recruit almost 400 apprentices this year – its highest intake since the financial crash.

BAE will place some of the 387 apprentices recruited into its military aircraft decision. Photo: AP

By Louisa Peacock

All the apprentices are guaranteed a job at the end of their scheme, which lasts at least three years, and around 10pc will go on to join the five-year, degree-equivalent programme, free from tuition fees.

The BAE Systems apprenticeship scheme is regarded as one of the highest-quality in the industry, with the company investing around £80,000 per apprentice training.

BAE Systems sees its apprentice recruitment as a vital part of securing the advanced skills it needs for the future, splitting this year’s intake between its submarine-building, shipbuilding and military aircraft division, among others.

The company has continued to recruit around 300 apprentices a year since 2008 and this year plans to take on 387 apprentices.

Nigel Whitehead, BAE Systems group managing director, said: “Our continued commitment to the apprentice programme reflects the sustainable position of our UK business and the success of the programme in generating BAE Systems’ workforce of the future. We like to train people from an early age and find that the combination of on-the-job training and academic study without debt, is a great motivator for our apprentices to stay with us.”

The jobs come as fears of skills shortages in the construction industry intensify. A new report warns the decision by many firms to scrap graduate schemes during the recession is coming back to bite them. The study by Project Resource, a recruiter, says the sector has a “severe shortage” of white-collar workers with experience, which is driving up wages.

Sourced from The Telegraph


EADS and BAE Systems merger ‘great news for Wales’

The A380 double-decker jet is Airbus' flagship planeA potential merger between the owner of one of Wales’ biggest employers and UK defence contractor BAE Systems has been hailed as “great news for Wales”.

Talks are ongoing between BAE Systems and EADS, which owns Airbus, and employs 6,500 people at its Broughton factory in Flintshire, where wings for the A380 Superjumbo are made.

It also owns defence company Cassidian in Newport, which employs 1,000 people.

The Aerospace Wales Forum welcomed the move for Wales and the UK.

BBC Wales economic correspondent Sarah Dickins, said: “In terms of Wales, EADS have 6,500 at Airbus, and they have about 1,000 people at Cassidian.

“At both of these, order books are not just doing well, they are positively bulging.”

‘One group’

She said she had spoken to the Aerospace Wales Forum, where a spokesman said: “This is great news for the UK if this merger happens, and this is great news for Wales.”

BAE said in a statement that “both companies would operate as one group by means of equalisation and other agreements but would be separately listed on their existing exchanges”.

In a potential tie-up, BAE would own 40% and EADS 60% of the new firm.

Speculation that talks were ongoing sent BAE shares up 8% on Wednesday, while shares in EADS dropped 5.6%.

BAE and EADS said that a merger “offers the prospect of significant benefits for customers and shareholders of both companies”.


Under the code of the UK’s Takeover Panel, the two parties must announce a decision on the outcome of their talks by 17:00 BST on 10 October.

“BAE Systems confirms its intention to request an extension to the deadline from the panel if it and EADS are still in discussions at that time,” it said.

BAE usually pays shareholders a higher proportion of its earnings as a dividend than EADS.

As a result, if the merger were to go ahead, EADS would pay £200m to its shareholders before completion.

BAE and EADS’s normal dividend for the current year would be unaffected.

Sourced by BBC News Wales

BAE in line for £7bn US aircraft deal

BAE Systems has emerged as the frontrunner to win an $11bn (£7.1bn) contract with the United States air force to provide a fleet of new training jets.

By Jamie Dunkley

The deal to provide the US air force with 350 training jets comes as the Government is set to announce fresh investment into the industry

BAE believes its Hawk jet has a strong chance because budget constraints in the US mean the air force is not looking for a brand new aircraft.

If successful, the Hawk, which is used by the Red Arrows, would be assembled in the US. About half the components would be produced in the UK, delivering significant support to domestic manufacturers.

A final decision on the so-called T-X program is expected to be made by 2014, with the aircraft in service by 2020.

The deal would be a huge boost for BAE, which has been forced to cut thousands of jobs in the US and UK due to public spending cuts.

The company is also thought to have missed out for the multi-billion pound contract to provide India with fighter jets to Dassault Aviation of France.

The news, first reported in The Sunday Telegraph, comes ahead of the Farnborough International Air Show (FIAS), where billions of pounds worth of deals are expected to be signed. The FIAS, which starts today, is the largest show of its kind. In 2010, more than 120,000 trade visitors attended, and exhibiting companies announced over $47bn of orders.

The Government will use the show to announce fresh investment into the aerospace industry.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, 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 £20bn a year, holding a 17pc 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.

“That’s why we as a government are doing everything possible to get behind UK aerospace.

“We’ve established an Aerospace Growth Partnership to make sure that five, 10, 20 years down the line this industry continues to thrive and grow.

“We’re investing in skills, including 500 Masters-level qualifications in aerospace engineering over the next few years.

“We’re pulling every lever we’ve got to make sure those good, high-skilled jobs come to Britain and stay in Britain.”

Jim McNerney, the chief executive of Boeing, has said that he expects demand for new aircraft to grow by 5pc every year until 2031. Over the weekend, he predicted plane makers would deliver about 34,000 new aircraft valued at £2.9 trillion over that period.

He said growth in demand would be driven by Asia, where customers would be looking for 12,300 new aircraft.

Mr McNerney has also claimed that Boeing will outsell its rival Airbus for “a number of years”, having been second place to the pan-European aircraft builder for nearly a decade. Speaking ahead of the FIAS, the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, was equally bullish about the industry.

“The UK 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,” he said.

“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.”

Sourced from The Telegraph

Trial flights of ‘unmanned’ aircraft begin in UK skies

The Jetstream unmanned aircraftAbout 20 test flights of the BAE Systems Jetstream aircraft will be conducted over the summer.

Test flights have begun to see whether unmanned aircraft could someday be of widespread use in British airspace.

The BAE Systems Jetstream, which will be manned during the test phase, could potentially conduct search missions and investigate weather systems.

BAE believes the aircraft is the first of its kind to autonomously “sense and avoid” bad weather and mid-air hazards.

The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) said “issues” must be resolved to ensure all airspace users are safe.

Unmanned planes or “drones” are already used in the UK for surveillance work.

Electronic eye

During up to 20 test flights over the Irish Sea, a pilot and co-pilot will be responsible for the Jetstream’s take-offs and landings.

Also aboard will be three people observing and testing the technology – however, the aircraft will fly as if it were an Uninhabited Air Vehicle (UAV).

The new technology – which is far more advanced than a standard passenger aircraft – has been developed by Astraea, a £60m UK industry-led programme which has been running for about six years.

Astraea are funded in part by the Technology Strategy Board, which is sponsored by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

BAE says the Astraea system can detect and avoid bad weather systems using an “electronic eye” – a cockpit camera linked to the aircraft’s internal computer systems.

The system can recognise cloud types and autonomously plot a course to avoid bad weather.

The electronic eye is also used in conjunction with an aircraft identification antenna to “sense and avoid” mid-air collisions.

Infra-red technology on the underside of the aircraft should also help the Jetstream find a safe place to land in the event of an emergency.

Lambert Dopping-Hepenstal, BAE’s engineering director with responsibility for the Astraea programme, said: “The [aircraft] has been configured as a ‘surrogate UAV’, where the onboard pilots can take their hands off the controls and hand over control to the on-board system developed by the Astraea team.

Inside the JetstreamA bank of computers inside the UAV monitor what it “sees” and reacts to any hazards

“Racks of computers and control systems in the rear of the aircraft mean it can fly as if it were [unmanned] without any input from the pilots.

“The weather avoidance system will use sophisticated image processing techniques to detect and avoid clouds and is just one of the new capabilities being tested.”

‘Eyes and ears’

If trials are successful, BAE has said the aircraft could become the first “surrogate” UAV to fly in “normal” UK shared civilian airspace.

The testing has been cautiously welcomed by Balpa, who say they are not entirely opposed to the development of unmanned flight technology.

Capt Mark Searle, Balpa chairman, said: “The most important safety system that we currently have on board aircraft is the eyes and ears of well-trained pilots.

“Such technology… could offer benefits for manned aircraft operations as well, but there are issues which must be resolved first in order to ensure safety for all airspace users.”

Mr Searle added that the biggest hurdle to the use of any unmanned aircraft is the public perception of them.

“The public like to be assured when flying that there are capable, professional, well-trained pilots in command. We can not see this changing any time soon.”

Opponents of the growing use of drones are concerned the public are not being consulted on the rapidly advancing technology and the potential changes on the use of UK airspace.

Chris Cole, from the Drone Wars UK website, which follows the use of armed drones, told the BBC: “There is no parliamentary or public consultation in the UK on this and I believe there is a huge amount of public scepticism.

“The defence industry is part of the Astraea project. They are working with defence companies to see what changes need to be made to airspace regulation to ensure these drones fly safety in the UK.

“There is a big difference between remotely controlled surveillance drones and autonomous drone flights. This is a huge step forward and it is happening too quickly.”

BAE’s Simon Shrouder estimates that pilotless aircraft could be used within three to five years to investigate weather systems or natural disasters, such as volcanic ash clouds.

He added: “UAV flights could soon be used to do the dull, dirty or dangerous work, that will not put pilot’s lives at risk.”

Mr Shrouder added however, that pilotless passenger flights are still far from becoming reality.

“In years to come, it might be that confidence is so great that there is scope for passengers to be carried on these flights – but that is many, many years off.”

Sourced from BBC News

BAE Set To Lose £7bn Deal To The French

A Dassault Rafale fighter jet takes part in a flying display during the 49th Paris Air Show

The Indian Airforce is said to have opted for French Dassault Rafale jets

French company Dassault Aviation is expected to be selected to build more than 120 Rafale jets for the Indian air force in a deal worth £7bn.

The French firm has been selected as the preferred bidder after putting in a lower bid than the cost of 126 BAE Eurofighter Typhoons.

Sources at BAE say it is “far from a done deal” and that no contract has yet been awarded to Dassault.

A company spokesman said: “BAE Systems notes that Eurofighter Typhoon has not been assessed as the lowest-priced compliant bidder by the Indian ministry of defence at this stage of the tendering process for supply of its new medium multi-role combat aircraft.

“We believe Eurofighter Typhoon offers the best military, industrial and economic solution for India.”

The decision is obviously disappointing but it is about who the Indians have assessed as making the lowest bid and therefore asked to enter into further negotiations.

David Cameron at PMQs

The announcement is despite Prime Minister David Cameron attempting to establish Britain as India’s “partner of choice” during a high-profile visit in 2010.

It is also a blow to the thousands of BAE staff who work on the Typhoons.

Last year, the firm announced plans to shed 3,000 staff at Brough, Samlesbury and Warton, partly as a result of falling export orders for the Typhoon planes.

This latest news could put even more jobs at risk.

The Unite union has warned that the selection of a French fighter aircraft for the multi-billion pound contract could have a major impact on the UK.

National officer Ian Waddell said: “The Typhoon is a superb aircraft which supports thousands of highly skilled jobs in the UK, both at BAE Systems and in the supply chain.

“We are concerned about the serious implications this decision may have and want urgent talks with the company about future plans for the workforce.”

An Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet takes part in a flying display

BAE’s Eurofighter Typhoon jets were more expensive than the French jets

At PMQs, Mr Cameron insisted the Typhoons were “far better than Rafale” and pledged to do “everything I can” to persuade the Indians to choose the British aircraft.

“The decision is obviously disappointing but it is about who the Indians have assessed as making the lowest bid and therefore asked to enter into further negotiations,” he said.

He added: “They have not yet awarded the contract. We do not expect any job losses stemming from this decision and it does not rule out Typhoon for India.”

The industry’s umbrella body, the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions, is meeting the Ministry of Defence’s procurement minister Peter Luff next week and is expected to raise the issue as a priority.

Sourced from Sky News

USMC buys British Harrier Fleet

By:   Dominic Perry London

The UK has sold 72 BAE Systems Harrier GR9 aircraft to the US Marine Corps for £115 million ($180 million) to use as a source of spare parts to support the USMC’s fleet of Boeing AV-8B Harrier II aircraft, the Ministry of Defence said.

The MoD claimed that when added to the savings made from retiring the Harrier fleet from service, the sale contributes to an overall saving of £1 billion.

However, the UK had previously spent around £1 billion to upgrade the Harrier fleet in a project begun in 2005.

Peter Luff, minister for defence equipment, support and technology, said: “Harrier served this country with great distinction, but retiring it eight years earlier than planned was the right decision. Had we taken the decision in the Strategic Defence and Security Review to decommission Tornado instead we would not have been able to carry out the missions that were required simultaneously in Libya and Afghanistan. It was essential to retire older, less capable aircraft to allow us to invest in more modern, cutting-edge fast jets.

“As our operations over Libya proved, we have the capability to project decisive air power and can utilise our extensive basing and over-flight rights to great effect.”

The sale of equipment to the US includes spares and associated support equipment.

Two aircraft will also be offered to museums to preserve the Royal Navy’s military heritage.

Sourced by Flightglobal