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The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has revealed plans to invest £372m to maintain the Hawk jets used by the Royal Air Force (Raf) and the Royal Navy to train Typhoon and Tornado fighter pilots.

UK Defence Procurement Minister Philip Dunne said: "The Hawk is a world-class training aircraft for our future fast jet aircrew.

"Pilots currently flying Typhoons and Tornados with such precision targeting Daesh in Iraq and Syria to keep Britain safe first learnt their skills in the Hawk.

"It will also be used to train the pilots that will fly our new F-35s, some of the most advanced aircraft in the world.

"The contracts to support these vital training aircraft are a boost to British industry, sustaining hundreds of jobs across the UK, all made possible by our growing Defence budget and our £178bn investment in buying and maintaining the best possible kit for our Armed Forces."

The decision will see Bae and Babcock offering maintenance, as well as upgrades to the aircraft’s software, under a deal estimated at £300m roughly.

"It will also be used to train the pilots that will fly our new F-35s, some of the most advanced aircraft in the world."

The contract covers provision for design advice and modification and obsolescence management, using RAF Valley in Anglesey, Wales.

Additionally, Rolls-Royce will provide support for the Adour engines powering Hawk aircraft.

The contract covers provision for testing, repairs and overhauls taking place at RAF Valley and in Filton, Bristol, UK.

UK MoD procurement and support organisation Combat Air at DE&S director Air vice marshal Sue Gray said: "Our partners, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce, will provide through-life support, including maintenance and the provision of spares, while delivering cost savings and providing a high level of aircraft availability, all of which will ensure our future fast jet pilots have the right equipment to conduct their flying training."

Image: The Royal Air Force aerobatic team, The Red Arrows perform a number of manoeuvres during a display. Photo: courtesy of Crown Copyright.