A government minister used a visit to GKN Aerospace’s site in East Cowes yesterday to announce a multi-million pound contract which will secure jobs on the Island.
Defence Minister, Jeremy Quin, led a delegation of military VIPs to see the hi-tech facilities where key parts of the cutting-edge RAF Protector are manufactured. The total contract for the 16 aircraft is worth £195 million and, although the value of GKN’s element of the work will not be made public, it runs into millions of pounds.
Protector is a remotely piloted aircraft that will be equipped with surveillance equipment and precision strike weapons that can be deployed around the globe, all operated from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.
Garry Hernes, Site Director, said: “Our East Cowes site has been a fixture on the Isle of Wight for 100 years and we are extremely proud of that heritage, as well as excited about the future.
“Today, the facility is at the forefront of the global aerospace industry as a centre of excellence for advanced composites, and the V-tails we are producing for the Protector programme are a cutting-edge example of that work.
“We are not only helping support the Island’s economy and securing jobs, but also ensuring the Isle of Wight plays a key role in supporting the servicemen and women of the UK. This is both a responsibility and a privilege for the GKN Aerospace team, and something we look forward to doing for many years to come.”
During the visit yesterday the minister saw first-hand how the programme benefits UK industry for customers across the world, including Belgium and Australia.
Mr Quin said: “The Protector programme involves industry across the UK with vital parts of the aircraft manufactured on the Isle of Wight, supporting highly-skilled jobs for years to come.”
Pic Dr Johny King, VP UK General Atomics, Air Commodore Richard Barrow, Garry Hearns, Jeremy Quin, Rupert Dix GKN VP European Defence.