BAE Systems welcomes clarity on future after Boris Johnson's visit to its Warton site in Lancashire

BAE Systems has said the government’s shake-up of defence in its Defence Command Paper this week will provide cash to develop the technologies of the future.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 7:44 am

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed it as a “big moment” for the defence industry after visiting apprentices and the future combat air project Tempest at BAE Systems in Warton.

He saw the company’s sixth-generation fighter aircraft, which the Government has backed, as well as digital technology for the factories of the future.

He said: “This is I think a big moment for defence and the defence industry, for jobs and job growth in Lancashire. We’re taking some really tough decisions and some expensive decisions.

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“We’ve got to modernise our armed forces and that means investing in 21st century technology.

“If you look at a project like Tempest, that is an automated aircraft it is capable of flying without being piloted and is part of a system of aircraft including swarms of drones, missiles and so on that we call a future combat air system and that programme will generate 46,000 jobs, many of them here in Lancashire.

"We’re spending £6.6bn on just R&D and that will support 400,000 jobs across the UK, a lot of them here in Lancashire.”

He was joined on the visit by Fylde MP Mark Menzies who said: “I have supported Tempest from the outset and I asked the Government to lend its full support to BAE Systems and the project and here we have the Prime Minister doing exactly that. This project is protecting and creating thousands of jobs here in Fylde.

“BAE has a huge skills base and recently vastly expanded the number of apprentices here at Warton, ensuring we have a fully-skilled workforce for years and years to come.

The Prime Minister added: “What’s been so exciting today here at Warton is talking to young people - apprentices - about how they became inspired to get involved with aircraft engineering.

“It is fantastic to see young people, young women, moving up the grades to produce extraordinary pieces of equipment - important for our safety, and for jobs as well.”

Charles Woodburn, chief executive at BAE Systems said: “We welcome the clarity that the Ministry of Defence’s vision of a modernised, integrated force provides to industry and the increased funding that will give our sector the confidence to invest in the cutting edge technologies that will support thousands of highly skilled jobs.”