RAF deal 'will sustain jobs'

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Media captionThe £350m contract will protect hundreds of jobs

A new £350m deal to maintain the RAF's Hercules military transporter planes will help sustain hundreds of British jobs, the Ministry of Defence has said.

The contract with Marshall Aerospace is expected to support 500 UK jobs - the majority of them at Cambridge Airport.

The deal will see the aircraft serviced under one contract until 2015 rather than through short-term contracts.

The supply chain will be managed by Lockheed Martin in Havant, Stansted and Gloucester.

Rolls-Royce and sub-contractor Vector Aerospace will maintain engines at Filton, Hook, Croydon and Brize Norton.

Defence Equipment Minister Peter Luff said: "The Hercules aircraft is a key part of our long-range RAF air transport force and supports thousands of troops on operations across the globe.

"This new agreement will not only save the taxpayer money but will also ensure the fleet has continued support to maintain aircraft availability, especially for Afghanistan."

He said the agreement was part of a "comprehensive regeneration" of the armed forces' equipment.

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