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Posted on 02 August 2012

Aviation

MoD £50m order for flight simulator

The MoD has placed a £50m order for a flight simulator to be based at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. The contract for the Airbus A400M simulator was signed at the opening of the Farnborough Air Show in Hampshire.

The simulators are built in West Sussex, and the contract will help to sustain 50 high-tech jobs and skills.

In a speech to aerospace bosses at the show, Prime Minister David Cameron said the sector was "a real success story". He said the industry was "vitally important... for the future of our country and our economy". But Mr Cameron warned that the rest of the world was "breathing down our necks" and the UK had to be "constantly alive to the competition". While he toured stands at the event, he also stopped to talk to Andrew Churchill, managing director of Nuneaton-based precision engineering company JJ Churchill which employs 133 people.

The new Airbus A400M simulator is designed and built by Thales Training and Simulation in Crawley. It comes after the MoD ordered 22 of the A400Ms to replace its C-130 Hercules fleet, with the first delivery expected in 2014. The contract coincides with the announcement of £3m in government funding for 500 degree-level places in aerospace engineering over the next three years.