[Image: Eurofighter]

The Eurofighter Typhoon is the most advanced swing-role combat aircraft in the world and is manufactured by a consortium of companies including Alenia Aermacchi (now Leonardo), BAE Systems and Airbus. It’s currently being used by seven customers and has been ordered by two more, and has been successfully used in combat operations in Iraq, Libya and Syria. Recently, the Eurofighter Typhoon was offered to Belgium as a replacement for its fleet of 54 F-16 aircraft.

If Belgium accepts the offer, there will be a lot that comes with it, including the establishment of two National Innovation Centres that will be supported by the partner companies of the consortium. One would be located in Flanders, the other in Wallonia. In addition, an agreement has been signed between BAE Systems and Belgium-based aerospace manufacturer ASCO Industries to explore proposals in areas such as additive manufacturing, composite materials and processes, and other areas of advanced manufacturing and engineering technology.

“We are delighted to sign this agreement with Asco and we are looking forward to further developing the relationship between our two companies,” said Anthony Gregory, Campaign Director for Belgium at BAE Systems. “As part of our European industrial offer to Belgium, the Eurofighter nations and partner companies are fully committed to supporting the Essential Security Interests identified by Belgium, including advanced manufacturing. Working together with leading partners such as Asco, our offer will help further support and develop Belgium’s already outstanding capabilities in the defence and aerospace sector.”

ASCO is also likely to join BAE Systems as a founding member of the National Innovation Centres and to help develop the work to be taking place there. The two companies may also work on the Eurofighter Typhoon itself, including airframe manufacturing and assemblies.

“We are excited about the opportunities this collaboration with BAE Systems could bring and we look forward to working together to achieve the aim of our agreement – the development of advanced future technologies and capabilities,” said Laurent Canoen, Chief Commercial Officer at ASCO Industries. “As a company, we already work closely in the commercial aircraft sector with Airbus and Leonardo, and we are now committed to further developing our relationship with the different partners in the Eurofighter programme.”

[Image: BAE Systems]

The agreement was signed in the presence of Harriet Baldwin MP, the UK’s Minister for Defense Procurement. The UK is making the offer of the Eurofighter Typhoon to Belgium, supported by Germany, Italy and Spain, the Eurofighter nations. The offer aims to provide long-term, sustainable industrial opportunities to Belgium, with the two National Innovation Centres playing a major role. The Centres would focus on additive manufacturing and other advanced manufacturing technology, with the partner companies investing alongside Belgian industry in the development of research agendas specifically geared towards those two areas.

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