AEROSPACE giant BAE Systems has claimed that a report has found its Tempest fighter jet programme will support an average 21,000 jobs.

The Samlesbury-based company says that the report, carried out independently by professional services firm PwC, also shows that a high proportion of the value will be generated in the North West.

The programme, known as Team Tempest is a collaboration between Ministry of Defence, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and several other companies that will manufacture military aircraft for the UK as well as BAE's customers around the world including the US and Saudi Arabia.

PwC consultant Diane Shaw said: “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.”

The PwC report says that in the North West, the programme is expected to generate at least £7.9 billion and will support around 5,000 jobs, both directly on the programme and as part of its supply chain.

ADS, which represent businesses in the aerospace industry has also said it expects the programme to have a significant impact on the region.

Chief executive Kevin Craven, said: “The Tempest programme will bring tens of thousands of skilled jobs that will provide rewarding careers, help to level up the UK economy, and build the advanced capabilities of our world-leading combat air industry.

"The contribution of SMEs will be vital to Tempest’s success and I hope our network of innovative supply chain companies will explore the opportunities to be involved in the programme and maximise the benefits to our sector and our national prosperity.”