AN AEROSPACE giant has reaffirmed its commitment to manufacturing military aircraft in Lancashire following the government's defence review.

Samlesbury-based BAE Systems have been developing the £2 billion Tempest fighter-bomb jet programme in the county, which the company says it intends to continue with along with plans to build Typhoon fighter jets, dreadnought class nuclear submarines, and naval frigates across its other UK plants.

This comes following the publication of the government's defence command paper which sets out plans for smaller but more technologically advanced armed forces.

BAE Systems chief executive Charles Woodburn 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 across the country.

"Working with our customers, partners and suppliers through programmes like Tempest we’re demonstrating a radically different approach to achieve pace, affordability and operational capability to meet evolving requirements more quickly and at a lower cost."

The defence review, announced on Monday March 22, laid out plans to reduce the size of the British Army while moving towards the increased use of cyber warfare equipment such as robots and drones.

This would see the army reduced from around 80,010 soldiers to around 70,000, with the reductions largely made by not replacing those who leave with new recruits.

Such a move would have significant implications for BAE Systems, which employs 21,000 people across the North of England and manufactures weaponry for the UK, US and Saudi Arabian militaries.

Notwithstanding the defence review, the Tempest jets, which the company is building in partnership with the Ministry of Defence and Rolls-Royce are currently scheduled to be operational by 2035.

On a visit to BAE System's Preston plant on Monday, prime minister Boris Johnson said: “We don’t want to fight wars, we want to deter them, and we want to be useful around the world in partnership with our friends to keep the peace.

“To do that, you need strong, robust armed services of the kind that we are investing in, investing in for the long-term, not just for military purposes, although that’s absolutely crucial, but for very, very good economic reasons as well.”