Hopes are flying high among Fylde aircraft makers after the Government announced a multi-billion pound investment to replace the Eurofighter Typhoon – with BAE Systems at the forefront.
The announcement could safeguard thousands of jobs at BAE’s sites at Warton and Samlesbury in Lancashire for years to come.
Defence Secretary Gavin Willliamson made the announcement at the Farnborough Airshow where a model of the aircraft, named the Tempest was unveiled.
It will see BAE Systems work with the government, the Ministry of Defence, the RAF and industry partners MBDA, Rolls-Royce and Leonardo from Italy on the new jet, which could also be flown without a pilot.
He said: “I am launching a new capability acquisition programme to replace Typhoon when it leaves Royal Air Force service.
“Our technical and industrial expertise has put the UK at the heart of successful international collaborations including Tornado, Typhoon and F-35.
“The UK Combat Air industry has delivered significant economic benefit to the UK, through the development of the most advanced technologies, employment of a highly skilled workforce and huge success in the export market.
“Our investment of nearly £2Bn over ten years in the Future Combat Air System Technology Initiative provides the means to develop the technologies of the future.
The Strategy confirms investments in and upgrades to existing capabilities such as Typhoon and F-35 to keep them at the cutting edge well into the future.”
The announcement was welcomed on the Fylde coast.
Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “This is the culmination of many years’ hard work on behalf of the BAE Systems team largely at Warton working with the Government.
“I am proud to have played my own small part in helping ensure the Government secured the funding for a sixth generation aircraft.
“Following the announcement, it is great to know that future of Warton is beginning to look secure with Typhoon playing a major role in the lead up to the sixth generation aircraft. This is a great day for Warton.”
Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard said: "I am delighted the Governmnent has announced its commitment to maintaining the UK's world leading air combat capability.
"It is important we retain the skills to design and build these aircraft in the UK. The involvement of BAE in the future fighter programme will ensure the long term future of thousands of jobs here on the Fylde coast including many at suppliers in my own constituency. It will also ensure vital skills can and will be passed to future generations."