This Government are proud to prioritise economic growth, and this Ministry is proud to support the role of responsible defence exports in contributing to the nation’s economic recovery. The Ministry of Defence is supporting export campaigns for Typhoon and Hawk aircraft, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, other ministerial colleagues and I are actively engaged with senior military officers and the UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation in seeking to broaden and deepen the family of user nations among our allies and partners.
The Minister might be aware that there have recently been announced new job losses in management positions at BAE Systems in Warton in my constituency. Given that the Typhoon is playing such an important role in our defence exports, what progress are the Government making with Typhoons for the Malaysian air force, in the light of Malaysia’s recent election to the UN Security Council?
Clearly, as my hon. Friend knows, given his proximity to the Warton facility, export growth is important for sustaining jobs in Lancashire. The Typhoon is competing vigorously in a number of export campaigns, including the Royal Malaysian air force’s multi-role combat aircraft requirement. The Government are actively supporting the BAE Systems bid to win the competition and the company has discussed various options to meet the needs of the Malaysian Government. I visited Malaysia earlier this year to support those efforts, and today six RAF Typhoon aircraft from 3(F) Squadron are flying in Malaysia as part of Exercise Bersama Lima.