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Lancashire-built fighter jet takes to the skies

The latest version of BAe's Typhoon fighter jet - manufactured and built in Lancashire - has begun flight tests.

The combat aircraft, known as Tranche 3, is built at Warton with parts manufactured at nearby Samlesbury.

The first Tranche 3 has been produced for the RAF by the Eurofighter consortium and assembled by BAE Systems.

British Single Seat aircraft no.116took to the skies for the first time with pilot Nat Makepeace in the cockpit.

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First unmanned flight completed

The first unmanned flight over British airspace, from Lancashire, has been successfully completed.

Aerospace company BAE Systems flew a Jetstream 31 - dubbed the "flying test bed" - from Warton near Preston to Inverness in Scotland.

The aircraft was controlled by a pilot at Warton using advanced sensors and on-board robotic systems.

The flight was part of the £62 million ASTRAEA (Autonomous Systems Technology Related Airborne Evaluation & Assessment) programme, which is backed by the Government.

Aviation history made in Lancashire

ASTREA in action Credit: BAE

The first flight demonstrating how an unmanned aircraft can operate in all UK airspace has taken place over Lancashire.

A BAE Systems Jetstream research aircraft specially adapted to fly in unmanned mode successfully completed a 500 mile trip from Warton to Inverness under the command of a ground based pilot.

The flight was part of a series of flight trials designed to show the technology needed to allow the safe and routine flying of unmanned aircraft in UK airspace.

Business secretary at Bae Warton

The business secretary's been in Lancashire to congratulate workers who recently secured a two and a half billion pound contract.

Vince Cable was at Bae Systems plant at Warton Aerodrome to meet staff who'll be assembling Typhoon and Hawk aircraft for the huge order from Oman.

He later visited Leyland Trucks in Leyland to see progress at a plant still thriving in a town where most motor manufacturing disappeared long ago.

Our Lancashire reporter Amy Welch was there.

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One day left for BAE to decide over merger

BAE makes the Eurofighter and employs thousands of staff in Lancahsire Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

BAE Systems has just over a day left to decide whether or not to join forces with European defence company EADS.

The UK Takeover Panel deadline for the £28billion deal to be approved or abandoned is 5pm tomorrow.

So far the planned merger has sparked controversy on both sides of the channel.

The two firms may have to ask for an extension to give them more time to negotiate.

Part of the problem is that they're partly owned by Governments.

BAE and EADS face a number of hurdles if the deal is to go through, with France and Germany keen to keep significant equity stakes in the merged group.

And Prime Minister David Cameron is facing a major Conservative rebellion after 45 MPs signed a letter calling on the Prime Minister to veto the deal.

The German government may also block the move, it has been reported, after demanding that its stake is equal to France's and that the newly merged company's head office should be in Berlin. It is thought Germany is insisting on taking a 9% stake to match France's holding.

Britain holds a "golden share" in BAE, meaning it can veto deals that are seen to put the public interest at risk, but is not thought to have made any demands for a direct equity holding in the enlarged company.

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