BAE, which has been the backbone of Britain's defence industry for decades, will shed 2,000 jobs as new chief executive Charles Woodburn tries to shake up the defence contractor in the face of dwindling orders for the Typhoon fighter jet. Kate King reports.
Britain's Eurofighter Typhoon Jet was designed to win a close-range battle in the air. But technology now rules the skies and it's those who make the aircraft fighting for their future. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BAE EMPLOYEE, JOHN REDSHAW SAYING: "It's a sign of the times, the company is needing to be lean, a reflection of the workload, a combination of a lot of factors." (SOUNDBITE) (English) BAE EMPLOYEE, DAN BUTRIOD SAYING: "I am an engineer, I am an aircraft enthusiast as well and I like what I do and hopefully I can keep doing it." On Tuesday BAE systems said it would shed as many as 2-thousand jobs over two years. Many of them here, at production plants in North-west England where 750 posts will go. The Typhoon has won fewer orders this year than its rival Rafale built by France. A major order expected from Saudi Arabia also failed to materialise. Though Qatar did agree to buy 24 Typhoon and six Hawk trainer jets in September, the Unite union says the government must do more to keep orders coming in. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHAIR OF THE WARTON PROFESSIONAL STAFF NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE, UNITE UNION, MARK ALLEN SAYING: "I am sure that most taxpayers will say that they would hope that our airspace is defended by planes produced in this country and not for example not planes we have bought off the shelf from the Americans." Britain's Business and Energy minister says the cuts are a result of restructuring and not related to UK Defence spending. Just over half of BAE's 19 billion pounds of sales in 2016 came from its aircraft business, Its CEO says the restructuring will include a renewed focus on technology in a bid to become more competitive.