UK firms hit as South Africa cuts arms orders

South Africa has slashed an order for 28 Saab-British Aerospace Gripen fighters to just nine aircraft and an order for 24 Hawk trainers to a dozen. The move follows a decision last week by the South African Government to make cuts of £2.16bn in its budget for new combat planes, warships and helicopters. The confirmed […]

South Africa has slashed an order for 28 Saab-British Aerospace Gripen fighters to just nine aircraft and an order for 24 Hawk trainers to a dozen.

The move follows a decision last week by the South African Government to make cuts of £2.16bn in its budget for new combat planes, warships and helicopters.

The confirmed Gripen and Hawk orders are still worth just over £700m to BAe, which stands to make another £860m if options for more planes are taken up.

The Hawks will be built at BAe’s Warton plant in Lancashire, with South African industry also supplying parts. Warton will also supply some of the Gripens’ airframe parts, with Saab and South African firms supplying the rest. The nine fighters will be assembled by Saab in Sweden.

Another loser in the cuts is GKN-Westland, which was to have supplied the South African navy with four Super Lynx helicopters worth £80m. This order has been deferred.