Millions of pounds will be pumped into Flintshire after Sealand was chosen as the location for a fighter jet repair hub.
The UK Government has announced that an F-35 maintainance programme will be based at MOD Sealand, generating hundreds of millions of pounds in revenue and sustaining thousands of jobs.
Over the lifetime of the programme, hundreds of European-based F-35 aircraft will be serviced and maintained at the former RAF base
Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales, said: “Today’s announcement makes Wales an essential component repair hub for supporting the F-35 aircraft and confirms our status as a leader in aviation technology.
“I’m delighted that the expertise that exists in Wales, along with a skilled workforce, has been recognised by the award of this major contract.
“It will lead to the investment of millions of pounds into the economy of North Wales.
“The North Wales maintenance site already supports around 400 jobs with thousands more in the wider supply chain – these will be sustained and grown over the coming years as a result of today’s news.
“MOD Sealand is a perfect location for maintenance work on this scale and I’m confident we will see further investment locally for the aerospace industry in Wales.”
The hub will be based on a partnership enterprise between Defence Electronics and Components Agency, BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman, supported by key F-35 Original Equipment Manufacturers.
The work will be centred at the UK Government-owned, Defence Electronics and Components Agency, based at MOD Sealand.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “This establishes Britain as a hub for all European F35s and is hugely positive news for our high-tech and innovative defence industry.
“It is an endorsement of the skills and capabilities the UK offers; will help create hundreds of high-end jobs, safeguard thousands more and be a substantial boost to UK exports.
“Building on the strong foundations of Britain’s pre-eminent and enduring defence partnership with the US, this decision supports British jobs and helps keep Britain safer and more secure.”
The work will generate hundreds of millions of pounds of revenue for the UK defence industry, with the potential to unlock more than £2 billion of future F-35 support revenue over the lifetime of the programme.
Tony Douglas, chief executive officer of the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation, said: “The UK’s winning proposal is testament to the strength of both UK Government and our industry knowledge and expertise.”