BAE Systems has said that its new fighter jet could support 20,000 jobs in the UK as it seeks to make the case for the new combat air system.
The Tempest programme, which is being delivered by the FTSE 100 company alongside a consortium of defence giants, is also predicted to contribute £25.3bn to the economy over its first thirty years.
The estimates come from an independent study by accountants PwC, which will form part of a business case to be presented to the government later this year.
According to the report, every year between 2026 and 250 the Tempest project will support 270 jobs for every 100 it directly creates.
It also found that for every £100 of direct value added generated by the programme’s partners, £220 of gross value added would be created across the economy.
The Tempest is intended to replace the Eurofighter jet. The project was launched in 2018 after France and Germany announced that they would work on a new fighter plane without the UK.
The government has already poured £2bn into the project, with the aim of manufacturing beginning in 2025.
Fellow defence firms Leonardo UK, MBDA, and Rolls-Royce, alongside smaller firms such as GE Aviation and GKN Aerospace, make up the rest of the consortium.
Michael Christie, director of combat air acquisition programme at BAE, said: The initial analysis revealed today demonstrates that Tempest is critical to ensuring the UK can sustain its world-leading Combat Air Sector, preserving the sovereign capability that is essential to retaining military freedom of action for the UK.”
The PwC report was commissioned by BAE, with the full findings to be made available by the end of the year.
The boss of sector body ADS said that the project could play a crucial role in the post-Covid recovery.
“It will embed high-value design and manufacturing skills in the UK for decades to come, sustain thousands of high paying jobs and give apprentices the opportunity to build their career in an iconic programme with massive export potential”, said Paul Everitt.