Sunday, April 15, 2012

Fighter jet boost for Rolls Royce plant

Rolls-Royce is in line for a massive boost this week when the Government is expected to select the jump-jet version of the Joint Strike Fighter for Britain's two new aircraft carriers from 2020.

Work on the supplementary lift engine for the short take-off and landing version of the supersonic jet is already under way at the aero engine giant's plant in Bristol.

The contract could be worth hundreds of millions of pounds to Rolls, depending on how many aircraft are ordered. The Ministry of Defence originally ordered 150.

While a decision will be made early this week the announcement will be withheld until after local government elections on May 3, according to convention.

The MoD will argue that adapting the carriers for the short take-off and landing version of the stealth fighter will be cheaper than using the traditional method of catapulting jets into the air.

But more than £50million has been spent on designing catapults after the original plan for jump jet fighters was shelved.

The cost of the carriers, which had been estimated at £3.5billion, has ballooned to £6.2billion.

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