British and German firms are fighting for a £20m contract for between 90 and 100 new elementary training aircraft for the RAF.
The RAF is said to favour the German aircraft while the British plane’s case is being argued by the Department of Trade and Industry, citing the jobs impact of buying German.
The UK’s Bombardier Services and FR/Serco are competing to provide the RAF with 50,000 flying training hours per year, plus the necessary support.
To do this each contender is offering the RAF a choice between piston-engined aircraft: the British T-67M 260 from Slingsby Aviation in Kirbymoorside, North Yorkshire, and the German’s Burkhart Grob 115D.
Final bids are due back to the Ministry of Defence next week. The aircraft themselves will be worth around £20m, but the whole contract to provide training and the aircraft will be worth more.
The MoD said ‘the industrial implications of the contract will be taken into account’.
The future of 150 jobs at Slingsby would be secured by this order, which would be its biggest contract yet.