Thousands of jobs at BAE System’s plants at Samlesbury and Warton near Preston could be protected following the unveiling of a next-generation fighter jet.Advertisement
The Tempest has been unveiled by the government as a new multi-million pound investment in the RAF.
BAE has joined forces with Leonardo, MBDA and Rolls-Royce to create the new fighter plane.
Final investment decisions about the new plane are not expected by the UK government until 2025 and it’s not expected to take to the skies until 2035.
Air technology employs tens of thousands of people in and around Preston, both directly and indirectly through its supply chain.
Chief executive Charles Woodburn said: “The UK’s combat air capability, built by generations of committed and highly skilled people through a century long partnership between the RAF and industry, is admired the world over.
“The UK Government’s Combat Air Strategy is a powerful statement of intent to invest in next generation combat air systems. We’re proud to play a key role in this important programme, with our world leading technology, capability and skills, which will contribute to the UK’s defence and prosperity for decades to come.”
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Defence secretary Gavin Williamson said: “We have been a world leader in the combat air sector for a century, with an enviable array of skills and technology, and this Strategy makes clear that we are determined to make sure it stays that way. It shows our allies that we are open to working together to protect the skies in an increasingly threatening future – and this concept model is just a glimpse into what the future could look like.
“British defence industry is a huge contributor to UK prosperity, creating thousands of jobs in a thriving advanced manufacturing sector, and generating a UK sovereign capability that is the best in the world.
“This news leaves industry, our military, the country, and our allies in no doubt that the UK will be flying high in the combat air sector as we move into the next generation.”
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