Tempest and the
Future of Combat Air

Prosperity and Industrial Capability

Image of Tempest at the ASK facility
The Tempest programme is well placed to support economic growth and recovery, stimulating investment in R&D and supporting high skilled jobs in regions of the country which are amongst the most in need.

Economic Impact - PwC Report

In 2020, the Team Tempest partners, BAE Systems, MBDA, Leonardo UK and Rolls Royce commissioned PwC to analyse the expected economic impact of the Tempest programme in the UK from 2021 to 2050; the first thirty years reflecting the development, production and entry into service phases of the programme as well as the early stages of operation. 
The PwC report Assessment of the expected economic impact of the Tempest Programme (2021 2050) analyses the national and regional economic contribution measured in terms of GVA and employment of the Tempest programme in its own right, as well as wider Combat Air activities. The report findings provided a conservative assessment excluding the benefit beyond this point, including significant benefit from exports.
The report also illustrates the additional, wider contributions of the Tempest programme on UK economy through a set of case studies, focusing on skills development, R&D skill over effects and regional development.
As our research outlines, the scale of the Tempest programme is significant and expected to deliver wide-ranging benefits to the UK, stimulating investment in new technologies and promoting critical skills and capabilities that ensure the UK can continue to operate at the forefront of world-leading technology. The programme will stimulate R&D in regions most in need and generate wider economic benefits for these areas, supporting the UK Government’s levelling up priorities and contributing to the UK’s economic recovery and prosperity in the decades ahead.

Diane Shaw

, EMEA Aerospace, Defence and Security Consulting Leader, PwC
Key highlights
The Tempest programme is expected to deliver significant benefits to the UK over the full lifetime of the programme, benefiting all regions of the UK, including Scotland and Northern Ireland. Key highlights:
  • The Tempest programme is expected to deliver £26.2bn economic contribution between 2021 and 2050 (NPV, 2019). These exclude benefits beyond 2050, which means most of the value generated by exports is not captured within this 30-year period.
  • The programme is expected to provide long term critical sovereign capability in areas such as design and development of combat air systems, through the sustainment of high value jobs and support on average 21,000 workers per year from development to operational service (2026-50).
  • The programme will create high productivity employment, with an average GVA per worker 78% higher than the UK national average at £101,000 and 42% higher than the UK manufacturing average.

Regional Benefit
The Tempest programme can contribute to the UK Government’s commitment to levelling up:
  • The impact of the Tempest programme will be felt across all regions of the UK including Scotland and Northern Ireland, with 70% of the value in the North West, the South West and East of England
  • Regional GVA per worker for the Tempest programme is 31% higher than the North West manufacturing average, 24% higher than the South West manufacturing average and c. 60% higher than the East of England and Scotland manufacturing average.

Sovereign skills and operational advantage

Maintaining access to a dynamic and innovative UK industrial base will determine the UK’s ability to choose how it delivers its future requirements. Tempest will enable the UK to reap the economic, international and strategic benefits of a major role in a future Combat Air acquisition programme.
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 UK’s combat air sector is a proven success story, contributing to many areas of the economy, particularly manufacturing and technology. 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.
Preserving this sovereign capability is vital to ensure we as a nation retain independent military ‘freedom of action’ and our national security, and at the same time make a positive economic difference to the UK.

Return on investment

Combat Air delivers on average £6bn of revenue to the UK every year and is responsible for 85% of defence exports from the UK.  Every major programme has returned significantly more money to the UK Government than originally invested. Programmes including Hawk and Typhoon have delivered impressive economic return for the UK:
  • The initial £800m the Government invested in Hawk led to the most successful trainer aircraft in history with over 1,000 platforms sold, the vast majority exported, delivering a return of more than £16bn to the UK economy.
  • On Eurofighter Typhoon, the UK Government has invested £12bn, but from export sales has seen double that revenue return to the UK economy, with the potential of more to come.
The principles and objectives for the Tempest programme, focused on delivering a capable, flexible and affordable product will ensure that this track record continues.

UK Combat Air Sector

Annual turnover
Highly skilled jobs
UK supply chain companies

National Value

The UK Combat Air Strategy recognises the contribution industry plays in helping the UK to remain at the forefront in this critical sector; continuing to deliver economic, industrial capability and skills benefits, as well as supporting international partnering and delivering value through exports.
BAE Systems sustains high quality engineering and manufacturing jobs in clusters around the UK, both in the defence aerospace sector and adjacent sectors.  It delivers advanced skills in the industrial base that have proven wider application and benefit in other sectors. 
  • Across the Team Tempest partners there are more than 2,000 employed on the Tempest programmes.
  • More than 1,000 apprentices and graduates have been recruited across the Team Tempest partners in just two years.
  • Continued collaboration with key universities and direct investment in training capabilities
  • The four core partners have already engaged with more than 600 suppliers, SMEs and academic institutions across the UK as part of that mission
Tempest is a once in a generation opportunity for the next generation of highly skilled engineering, technologies and thinkers to make their mark on history.
Contribution to the North
The Combat Air Sector has a footprint that reaches many areas of the UK including the north of England and Scotland; driving prosperity across our country, directly supporting 46,000 jobs.
Image showing Samlesbury site aerial view
With 12 sites across the region, we employ 21,000 people - more than half our UK workforce. 
Find out more
Image showing the Factory of the future
Tempest is leveraging and developing the very best technology in existence, working in partnership with academia and high-tech SMEs across the UK.
Find out more
*The PWC report ‘Assessment of the expected economic impact of the Tempest Programme (2021-2050), May 2021’ was prepared for BAE Systems (Operations) Limited and solely for the purpose and on the terms agreed with BAE Systems (Operations) Limited. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP accepts no liability (including for negligence) to anyone else in connection with the report.


See Product Family