If Typhoon is selected to replace Belgium’s existing F-16 fleet, Eurofighter partner companies have committed to support the development of National Innovation Centres in Belgium.

The companies include BAE Systems, Airbus Defence and Space, Leonardo, and MBDA’s missile systems business.

All four companies have signed endorsements to support the establishment of two centres, one in Flanders and one in Wallonia, Belgium.

The two centres will focus on advanced manufacturing and additive layer manufacture to further develop Belgium’s defence and aerospace industry.

BAE Systems Belgium campaign director Anthony Gregory said: “With the support of our partner companies across Europe, we are delighted to sign these endorsements which form a key component of our industrial offer to Belgium.

“These centres in Flanders and Wallonia could not only build on Belgium’s existing capabilities but also play an essential role in positioning Belgium’s industry for work on future combat aircraft programmes in Europe with key European partners.”

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The partner companies will invest in the development of research agendas by the centres.

“The two centres will focus on advanced manufacturing and additive layer manufacture to further develop Belgium’s defence and aerospace industry.”

Belgium has plans to replace its existing fleet of 54 F-16 aircraft.

Eurofighter Typhoon is an advanced swing-role, multi-role combat aircraft that provides simultaneously deployable air-to-air and air-to-surface capabilities.

The 15.96m-long aircraft can travel at a maximum speed of 2.0 Mach. It recorded 400,000 hours of flying time across the world.

BAE Systems also intends to establish the infrastructure, technology and training to accommodate and run a Belgian National Network Cyber Centre in partnership with the UK and Belgian Governments.