Airbus benefits from $35bn US order

UK aerospace groups are to benefit from a $35bn order from the US Air Force  for airborne refuelling planes.

European aerospace group EADS and Northrop Grumman of the US are to supply up to 179 of the tanker aircraft.

EADS subsidiary Airbus will build the wings in the UK at plants in at Broughton, north Wales, and Filton near Bristol.

Filton is also responsible for the design of the wing and the fuel system so it has an important role to play in design changes to enable the aircraft to transfer fuel as air-to-air refuelling tankers, EADS said.

The order is likely to help to sustain and protect around 13,000 jobs directly in Airbus UK, a further 32,000 in the UK supply chain and 90,000 linked jobs around the UK, it added.

Cobham, the British engineering group, will supply high-tech equipment used for transferring fuel between aircraft.

The deal is a major blow to Boeing of the US, which has been supplying refuelling tankers to the US Air Force for nearly 50 years and had been expected to retain the contract.

Image: Airbus's Broughton site will make wings for the aircraft tanker

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