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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 August 2005, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
Rolls-Royce wins stealth contract
Rolls-Royce marine engine
Rolls engines power warships, commercial aircraft and fighter jets
Aerospace giant Rolls-Royce has won a 1.3bn ($2.47bn) deal to develop engines for the next generation of US stealth fighters.

The deal is a boost for about 200 workers who have been involved in early development work on the F136 engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Rolls will team up with US peer General Electric for the US government deal that is expected to run until 2013.

The news comes as Rolls-Royce suffers its first official strike for 20 years.

Workers at its Bristol plant walked out following the sacking of a union official.

Jerry Hicks was sacked over misconduct claims, but an employment tribunal provisionally found he had "probably been dismissed on trade union grounds".


The stealth deal is the second involving Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter after Pratt & Whitney secured development work on an F135 engine for the plane.

The F-35 will be powered by Pratt & Whitney engines until 2012.

After that, GE Aircraft Engines and Rolls-Royce will compete with Pratt & Whitney for engine placement deals.

Production of the fighters could reach 6,000 over the next 30 years and include a long-term replacement for the UK's Harrier and Sea Harrier.

Lockheed Martin is leading the project, which also involves BAE Systems, in order to replace several aircraft including the F-16 and F/A-18.

It has already produced a prototype of the plane and first jets will go into service in two year's time.

"This is going to be the mainstay of our military engine business going forward," said GE's Jean Lydon-Rodgers, programme director of the new engine.

GE has a 60% stake in the programme, with Rolls also carrying out work on the contract at its plant in Indianapolis, United States.

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