UK Trade and Investment is to launch a new advanced engineering strategy later this year, with the move intended to promote innovation and inward investment, and to encourage schoolchildren and students to consider a career in the sector.

Considerable emphasis will be placed on activities linked to aerospace, which minister for trade and investment Lord Digby Jones described at the show as "our number one manufacturing industry. Farnborough is all about bringing together this celebration of success."

Around 400,000 people are employed directly or indirectly by defence projects in the UK, which also last year exported "more defence equipment around the world than any other nation. This as a sector of our economy is vital," he said.

"I open up my newspaper and it says 'Britain doesn't make anything any more' God, it annoys me. We do, and we do it incredibly well."

The new engineering strategy will be implemented over the next two years, with UKTI to seek input from the advanced engineering industry this autumn. "We don't want to tell you what to do we're government," said Jones.

He also says the integration of the UK Defence Export Services Organisation - now the UKTI Defence and Security Organisation - has exceeded his expectations. The UK Ministry of Defence really did cooperate," he said.

Meanwhile, speaking about the US Air Force's tanker contest, where a selection of the Airbus A330-200-based KC-45 was recently overturned following an appeal by rival bidder Boeing, Jones said: "The taxpayers deserve the best aircraft for the price. It might be an Airbus, it might be a Boeing. It should be decided on the merits, not political short-term vested interest or protectionism. Politics gets in the way, and that's a shame."

Source: Flight International