Show Hide image

Rolls-Royce secures contract extensions worth £100m

The UK company provided support for Conway engines during Operation Ellamy in Libya last year.

Rolls-Royce has secured contract extensions worth almost £100m, in which the British power systems company will provide ongoing support for engines on the UK’s C-130 Hercules transport and VC10 tanker fleets.

The Hercules Integrated Operational Support (HIOS) contract, delivered jointly by Rolls-Royce, Marshall Aerospace and Lockheed Martin, will now provide support for the C-130 fleet until 2015.

Rolls-Royce teams in the UK and and US will provide comprehensive servicing for the AE 2100D3 engine, which powers the C-130J aircraft and the T56 engine on the C-130K.

Paul Craig, executive vice-president in defence services at Rolls-Royce, said:

This contract amendment is testimony to the standard of service delivered to date and reflects the value we offer to our customer. We take pride in supporting the Royal Air Force’s fleet of C-130s and in our successful partnership with Lockheed Martin, Marshall Aerospace and the Ministry of Defence.

It is particularly pleasing that we have continued to deliver high levels of aircraft availability at a time when both the C-130 and VC10 have recently been involved in high-tempo operations. Our innovative approach, which continues to ensure availability for critical operations, has been greatly appreciated by the RAF.

The company has also secured an extension to the contract to provide technical support for Conway engines, which will power the VC10 tanker until it finishes service in 2013. Last year, Rolls-Royce provided around-the-clock support for the engines during Operation Ellamy in Libya.

Rolls-Royce employs more than 40,000 people in over 50 countries, including 11,000 engineers. In 2011, the company invested £908m on research and development.

Getty Images.
Show Hide image

Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.