Defence giant BAE Systems is set to embark on a major recruitment drive, aiming to hire 1,000 engineers to help build 'supersonic' Tempest fighter jet.

BAE wants to recruit 1,000 highly-skilled engineers over the next year, with the bulk of them based at its Lancashire sites, as it gears up for a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reshape the future of combat air.

The aerospace defence giants aims to build the Tempest fighter jet by hiring engineers, manufacturers, software specialists and various other professions.

The bulk of these new recruits will be in Warton and Samlesbury in Lancashire, as well as Brough, East Yorkshire, and Prestwick, South Ayrshire.

Lancashire Telegraph: BAE Systems Warton apprentices BAE Systems Warton apprentices

BAE Air business managing director, Cliff Robson, said: “Recruits will work on the 'once in a lifetime' Tempest project as well as the existing batch of Typhoon jets and other future products.”

The company has ambitious plans for Tempest and a prototype is expected within five years.

Mr Robson, who started as a BAE engineer 39 years ago, said it will play a vital part in Britain's ambitions to retain its military might.

He said: “Without Tempest, we lose the sovereign capability in terms of military aircraft and fast jets, which is essential if you want security and defence of the country.

“Britain must ensure it is prepared for any conflict, even on home soil, after Russia's invasion of Ukraine 'reawakened' military tensions.”

Mr Robson expects an increase in orders for military aircraft in response to the war. BAE's contracts for jets can be worth billions of pounds with customers including Spain and Qatar.

Arms buyers will be able to catch a glimpse of BAE's Tempest 'demonstrator' by 2027.

Some have questioned the ambitious timeline, but Mr Robson is adamant, adding: “I guarantee we will fly this thing within five years.”

The project will see the UK team up with Japan, Italy and Sweden, and Robson said the international alliance will help boost investment and order potential.

Asif Mahmud, from the Lancashire Peace Forum, said while the recent announcements will see more jobs being created in the region, trading of arms should be done responsibly.

He said: “It's great that this will increase employment in the Lancashire area.

"But the UK should have an ethical foreign policy to make sure that the fighter jets and weapons we supply to other countries aren't being used for mass destruction."

Mr Mahmud's concerns follow arms deals between the UK and Saudi Arabia, which have been used in bombings on civilians in Yemen, and British hardware being used by Israel in its shelling of Gaza.

The consortium is led by BAE and includes engine maker Rolls-Royce and the UK arms of European firms Leonardo and missile-maker MBDA. The UK is due to make a final decision on the project in three years.