To mark the recent agreement with Oman, Mr Cable - the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills also underscored the importance of securing more exports on the back the gulf state’s order of 12 Typhoon and eight Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer aircraft.
Mr Cable was speaking in the Typhoon final assembly hangar in Warton, as part of a wider visit to companies in the North West in conjunction with the Engineering Employers Federation.
He said: “The things government can do include support for training, for R and D and, perhaps above all, helping to promote exports.
“There’s a shift in the balance taking place with less demand from the UK because of public spending and strategic reasons and so increasingly production from places like BAE Systems is going to be export focused.
“I and my ministerial colleagues are very supportive about that and we are not just talking about one country. We have had a very successful contractual arrangement with Oman but there are other countries in the Middle East and Asia in particular and they are very interested in Typhoon.”
Mr Cable dismissed suggestions that there was an over-reliance on exports: “I don’t think it is right. The trouble is that in the past Britain probably rather neglected exports. We had an overvalued exchange rate for many years and we took our eye off the ball. But the future recovery of Britain depends very heavily on our ability to export successfully.”
The minister also underscored how importantly the government viewed the aerospace industry as a whole
“As part of the industrial strategy that I’ve been working on for the past year the first of the sectors out of the blocks is aerospace. We have sat down with the industry and we have worked out with them what the government can usefully do. The important thing is that the industry has a certainty of knowing what is going to happen, not just next year, but in 10 years’ time. We have to shift government funding and support onto that more predictable long term base.”
During his visit Mr Cable was given a briefing on BAE Systems’ work on unmanned aircraft development.
He added: “The government recognises that unmanned systems are going to play an important part of both our defence and our export capability. We will work with the industry to support them 12 Typhoon and eight Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer aircraft.”
In December we announced the decision by the Sultanate of Oman to purchase 12 Typhoon and eight Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer aircraft. As well as supplying aircraft, we will provide in-service support to the Royal Air Force of Oman’s operational tasks.