Defence and research specialist Qinetiq yesterday clinched a new contract with the Defence Procurement Agency - worth up to £52.5 million over the next three years - to continue support for the Typhoon warplane programme.

The package includes £50 million for technical support, advice and safety clearance activity, together with £2.5 million allocated to subcontracts and future emergent work. Qinetiq has played a central role in the evolution of the Eurofighter Typhoon since its conception almost 20 years ago.

Over the past five years Qinetiq's activities have been focused under a single integrated support contract. The new contract continues much of the activity completed to date, with the introduction of some new customer related tasks.

"This contract award recognises the strategic role Qinetiq continues to have in the development and future operation of this aircraft," said Andrew Sleigh, Qinetiq's managing director of Defence.

"We are focused on delivering exceptionally high quality, cost effective support, which will see the Typhoon operate safely and use new sophisticated modern systems as they are developed."

The Typhoon is being developed through two consortia, Eurofighter and Eurojet, both comprising design manufacturers from each of the four contributing countries - UK, Germany, Italy and Spain. Eurofighter is focused on developing the airframe and onboard systems with its UK partner BAE Systems. Eurojet is working on development of the EJ200 turbofan engine with Derby-based Rolls-Royce as its UK design and manufacturing partner.