Tempest and the
Future of Combat Air

Future economic prosperity and freedom of choice

Tempest at sunset
Our commitment to highly skilled jobs, investment and innovation.
The UK is a global leader in combat air a global leader and the sector has the potential to contribute to the UK’s defence and prosperity for decades to come, enabling us to project strategic influence across the globe.
It employs a highly skilled and productive workforce, which generates significant exports for the country.
Maintaining access to a dynamic and innovative industrial base will determine our ability to choose how we deliver our future requirements. A UK led future combat air system (FCAS) programme will enable the UK to reap the economic, international and strategic benefits of a major role in a future Combat Air acquisition programme.
With an annual turnover of more than £6.5bn, the sector is responsible for more than 80% of defence exports sustaining more than 18,000 highly skilled jobs, as well as a further 28,000 jobs in the supply chain across 2,000 companies.
The export success of the Hawk jet trainer aircraft is a good example. More than 1,000 aircraft have been built or are on order. The UK Government’s initial investment was £900 million and by 2013 Hawk aircraft exports had generated a return of £11.5 billion.
Furthermore, the UK’s £15.2 billion investment as one of the four partner nations in the Eurofighter Typhoon programme is expected to generate £28.2 billion – a 180% return on investment - and that’s before you add in our recent order from Qatar and consider the number of active campaigns underway.

The economic impact of Eurofighter Typhoon

  • Typhoon directly supports 5,000 full time employees at BAE Systems, primarily based in the North of England and at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.
  • 3,500 of these roles support manufacturing, development and support for Typhoon customers across the globe.
  • The additional 1,500 employees support our work in functions including finance, human resources and procurement. In 2019, BAE Systems will also recruit 359 graduates and apprentices to work on its combat air programmes.
  • Typhoon also supports a thriving UK supply chain. In 2018, BAE Systems spent more than £624 million with businesses across the country supporting regional development and jobs. This is a large percentage of BAE Systems’ total UK supply chain spend.
The UK’s Combat Air Strategy provides a clear direction for the nation's future requirements which helps to maintain and stimulate the research and development investment necessary to sustain, strengthen and grow this sector.
It set an ambitious vision for the future, providing a path for how this investment can ensure the UK remains a global leader and the combat air sector continues to support economic prosperity in the UK.
The link between military advantage and economic prosperity cannot be overestimated.
In order to maintain operational advantage and freedom of action, we need to generate our own intellectual property and develop our people and their skills - thereby securing our national prosperity and the UK’s position as a defence exporter.
The Combat Air Strategy highlights the criticality of cutting-edge UK technologies and intellectual property, including how this is generated, sustained and exploited.
The freedom to choose how we deliver our future requirements is dependent on maintaining access to a dynamic and innovative UK industrial base. The ability to design and build combat aircraft in the UK makes a major contribution to our industrial base, providing a highly skilled and productive workforce, which generates significant exports for the country.
BAE Systems’ Air business in the UK is a major contributor to our nation’s economy. Our people are concentrated in highly-skilled roles, with 70% employed in engineering or engineering-related positions.  In 2016 this part of our business supported a £3.2 billion contribution to UK GDP and we estimate that it sustains around 50,000 full time equivalent jobs in the UK. In the same year, our UK Air business also exported £1.3 billion worth of goods and services.
From 2012 to 2016 we invested £4.4 billion of our own funds and our customer’s funds in R&D in the UK.  We have partnered with government, academia and SMEs to develop next generation technologies. The Combat Air strategy confirms the UK’s long-term national intent and allows us to respond and invest accordingly.

BAE Systems and Combat Air - Key Statistics

  • BAE Systems’ combat air business directly employs 12,300 people on an FTE basis.
  • Our UK operations are based at more than 20 sites across the country.
  • Our combat air business sustained 48,900 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in the UK— equivalent to one in every 552 FTE jobs in the country.
  • For every 100 jobs at the business itself, it supported 400 jobs in the UK economy as a whole.
Economic Impact
  • BAE Systems’ combat air business supported a £3.2 billion contribution to UK GDP in 2016.
  • This is equivalent to 0.2 percent of the country’s entire economic output.
  • BAE Systems’ combat air business contributed £0.9 billion of this.
  • Supply chain and worker spending multiplier effects supported a further £2.3 billion.
  • For every £1 in GDP created directly by the Company’s combat air business, a total of £3.40 is supported across the UK economy. 
  • This equates to 17 pence in every £100 of UK GDP in 2016.
  • In 2016 BAE Systems’ combat air business supported a tax contribution of £900 million to the UK Exchequer.
  • It exported £1.3 billion worth of goods and services a making a positive contribution to the UK balance of payments of £0.8 billion.
  • BAE Systems combat air workers are concentrated in highly-skilled roles.
  • The Company is one of the UK’s largest employer of engineers, with 70 percent of combat air staff are employed in engineering or engineering-related roles.
  • As of September 2017, the BAE Systems combat air business in the UK had almost 600 apprentices in training, just over 100 graduates, and in 2017 provided 25 summer internships.
Productivity and R&D
  • Productivity, as measured by gross value added per FTE employee, was £76,000 in 2016, six percent above the UK average.
  • BAE Systems makes a significant contribution to the research and development (R&D) output of the UK.
  • It has invested nearly £500 million in R&D funding over the past five years.
  • In 2018 alone carried out nearly £1.2 billion worth of R&D activity with customers and partners.
  • It is the UK’s fourth-largest applicant with both the European Patent Office and the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

Tempest and the Future of Combat Air

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