A FRESH deal signed with the Italian government has provided a new boost for air defence workers in Bolton.

Engineers at MBDA in Lostock will be working closely with their Italian counterparts on projects including the Typhoon and Tempest, the unmanned prototype fighter.

The announcement follows a similar deal with the Swedish government and industry, confirmed at the Royal Military Air Tattoo last month.

MBDA, alongside BAE, Leonardo UK and Rolls Royce, are partners in Team Tempest, and have signed a statement of intent with Italian outfits such as Leonardo Italy, Elettronica, Avio Aero and MBDA Italy.

On behalf of Team Tempest Charles Woodburn, BAE's chief executive, said: "Our proven record of successful collaboration with Italian industry makes us certain this partnership between our two nations is a strong fit for Tempest and demonstrates the growing momentum behind this important international endeavour.

"This announcement will expand existing partnerships with MBDA and Leonardo, which are central to our work in unleashing the full potential of Typhoon, as together we develop future combat air technologies to the benefit of both nations."

A joint study had indicated how the UK and Italians could be succesful partners, as they already had Eurofighters and F-35s in their fleet.

Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo's chief executive, added: "This agreement is an essential next step for this exciting and strategically important programme.

"As the CEO of Leonardo, I’m confident in this collaboration as each day I see how UK and Italian engineers, working together, achieve incredible things.

"Our two nations have a long and shared history of success on international programmes and we believe that working together on Tempest will further strengthen each nation's technological, industrial and skills base to ensure prosperity for decades to come."