A defence technology research site has opened in Newcastle, bringing 200 highly-skilled jobs to the city.
Leonardo, one of the biggest suppliers to the UK Ministry of Defence, make computer systems that go in military helicopters and fighter jets.
The company will work with colleges and universities in the North East to attract regional talent to the site on the Spark development park at Newcastle's Helix complex, with jobs in data science and advanced technology.
Mark Turner, a senior power electronics engineer, said: "One of the reasons why I got into engineering was because of the job opportunities it offers. I didn't think I was going to be working on fighter jets when I graduated.
"It's so important that there's a lot of opportunities in the North East, there's a lot of highly skilled engineers here.
"For me, what is important, is the job is rewarding. I want to look back on my career and ask myself 'did I make a difference' and 'am I proud of what I actually did'. Making fighter jets for the UK is something I can be really proud of."
The Newcastle University graduate added: "Hopefully when I see the next generation fighter flying, I can look up and say 'yeah I had a part of play in that.'
The site will be connected to Leonardo’s other scientific research and manufacturing sites around the country via the secure cloud, linking the company’s nationwide network of data-driven engineering projects.
Clive Higgins, chair and CEO of Leonardo UK, said: "by opening this new site in Newcastle, we will now be able to hire regional talent from the North East to work on some of the UK's most exciting and forward thinking technology projects.
"We're here for the long-term and are looking to build strong community bonds in Newcastle."
Leonardo is a founding member of the newly-established North East Regional Defence and Security Cluster (NERDSC) which aims to drive further investment in the region and support local defence and security contacts.
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