Tempest delivers 1,000 jobs boost

BAE Systems’ Air business, which includes major sites in Warton and Samlesbury, is recruiting 1,000 new engineers as it gears up for the next stage of the Tempest fighter jet project.

The roles will support the development of a new combat air demonstrator which will fly within the next five years as part of the Tempest programme, as well as the upgrading of the Eurofighter Typhoon.

And the defence giant has revealed that the bulk of the jobs will be based in Lancashire as well as East Yorkshire and Prestwick in Scotland.

Recruitment is already underway with the launch of an online ‘talent hub’ and BAE Systems is asking people to get in touch and find out what roles they could take on in its future programmes. The aim is to recruit the new workers over the next 12 months.

A spokesperson said: “We are looking to take on engineers, advanced manufacturers, software specialists and a whole range of other professions which support these complex programmes, including project managers, finance and commercial specialists.”

As well as the Tempest and Typhoon programmes, BAE Systems in Lancashire is working on the development of electric and unmanned aircraft.

The defence giant announced at the Farnborough Air Show last week that it will lead the UK industry response to the development of the new combat air demonstrator.

That will play a critical role in proving the technology needed to deliver the UK’s Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

Engineers at BAE Systems in Lancashire are part of the team leading the design, test, evaluation and build process, bringing together new digital engineering technologies.

A company spokesperson said: “These innovative design and engineering methods are helping to demonstrate how they will significantly reduce the time it takes to design, deliver and upgrade complex combat aircraft.”

John Stocker, BAE Systems Business Development Director responsible for FCAS, told Lancashire Business View that the Tempest project would support over 20,000 jobs in the future, with more than 70 per cent of those outside London and the South East of England.

He said: “It will have massive economic and industrial value for the UK.” And he added: “We have been making some fantastic progress with a whole range of technology development activities.”

Describing the announcement of the air demonstrator as “a groundbreaking moment”, he said the business was investing heavily in the skills needed to deliver the programme. He added: “The next five years are going to be exciting.”

The project will see the UK team up with Japan, Italy and Sweden. Stocker said the international aspect of the programme was important and other partners could join in the future.

Cliff Robson, who heads BAE Systems Air group, has also spoken of the importance of the project to the UK. He said: “Without Tempest, we lose the sovereign capability in terms of military aircraft and fast jets, which is essential if you want security and defence of the country.”

The consortium is led by BAE Systems and includes engine maker Rolls-Royce and the UK arms of European firms Leonardo and missile-maker MBDA. The UK is due to make a final decision on the project in three years.

The MoD has also announced a £2.35bn investment in a package of new capabilities which will be equipped on Royal Air Force Typhoon aircraft, with Lancashire’s planemakers again playing a key role in delivery.