MP makes the case for DARA and air tanker

Alyn and Deeside Mark Tami has appealed to the Ministry of Defence to put an end to speculation about the future of red dragon and confirm Government support for DARA.

Speaking in a defence debate, Mr Tami highlighted the vital role that the Defence Aviation Repair Agency (DARA) at RAF Sealand provides in meeting the need for Britain to have mobile and flexible armed forces to meet the needs of an ever changing international situation.

Mr Tami said, “Sealand is the agency’s centre of excellence for all electronic and avionic work, employing more than 80 personnel at the site. I have seen for myself the ongoing changes that have transformed the site out of all recognition from what it was when it was first established and that DARA’s main strength and value is to our armed forces.

DARA has continued to show the merit of a one stop shop that can deliver what is required effectively and to a high standard. Yet in spite of all the great strides forward, the long term future of DARA has always felt less than secure. Every few months or so, a rumour surfaces regarding its future.”

It was hoped that the red dragon announcement would end this speculation. The £77 million investment in building a super hanger at St Athan will enable DARA to retain and secure UK military business. However, this summer there has been further speculation over the end to end review.

The Flintshire MP added, “Whilst I welcome the assurances I have received from Government ministers about the future of red dragon and the ongoing future of DARA, I have appealed to ministers to put an end once and for all to damaging speculation. Failure to do so would only further undermine morale at all DARA sites.”

During last Thursday’s important debate Mr Tami also brought to the attention of fellow MPs and ministers the future strategic tanker aircraft.

He commented, “The future strategic aircraft order is one of the most important that the Ministry of Defence will consider for many years to come. The order for the Airbus 330 air tanker will decide whether we can compete with the United States and it offers the best option for our armed forces.

Airbus is a great success story for Alyn & Deeside, the UK and Europe. By choosing this option we will not only be safeguarding jobs but will also build on that success and secure the best for our armed forces.”