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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

Tempest: The 6th Generation Fighter That Could Change Everything (And Create Lots of Jobs)

Tempest
BAE Systems artist image of Tempest Stealth Fighter. Image Credit: BAE.

The Tempest Program Could be a Jobs Creator for the UK – Military programs are big business – so much so that many lawmakers contend that a “military-industrial complex” mentality still exists. However, thrghout human history, weapons have created jobs, and that is a fact that remains true today. The more advanced the program, the more jobs it could create.

Such is certainly the case with the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, which reportedly has created more than 254,000 indirect and indirect jobs. Moreover, the program has an annual economic impact of some $65 billion and involves some 1,650 high-tech suppliers and 1,000 small business corps.

Though the UK may not see as significant a boost to the economy from its Future Combat Air System (FCAS) or Tempest – and not to be confused with the French/German/Spanish-led program also known as FCAS – already the sixth-generation stealth fighter program is creating new jobs. This month, lead contractor BAE Systems launched a recruitment drive to find 1,000 engineers to develop a new fighter jet.

The aerospace defense giant is now 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.

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

Robson, who started as a BAE engineer 39 years ago, said the Tempest could play a vital part in Britain’s ambitions to retain its military might.

“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,” Robson told the Lancashire Telegraph. “Britain must ensure it is prepared for any conflict, even on home soil, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ‘reawakened’ military tensions.”

Tempest as a Jobs Builder

The Tempest was first unveiled by the British Ministry of Defence four years ago in July 2018, and at the time, the British government announced that it would spend £2bn to develop the aircraft between then and 2025. The goal of the program has been to deliver a capable, flexible and affordable system by the mid-2030s, providing military, economic, and industrial benefits to the UK as well as its international program partners.

Supporters of the program have cited the job creation that the Tempest program could create.

Around 2,500 skilled professionals are currently employed in the FCAS program across the UK and that figure will likely grow as development progresses. Partners within Team Tempest include BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Leonardo UK, and MDBA UK.

“There has never been a more exciting and rewarding time to be involved in this industry because we are re-designing how the world’s air forces will operate for generations,” said BAE Systems Air Technology and Manufacturing Director Dave Holmes.

Tempest

Tempest Artist Rendition. Image Credit: Industry Handout.

“The announcement of our FCAS flying demonstrator is the starting point for a surge towards creating the technologies that will make a real difference to our national defence and security, protecting those who protect us,” added Holmes. “But that programme is just one of many similar programmes where we need engineers to work on, such as developing the next generation of capabilities on Typhoon or engineering how pilots train in the future. We don’t just need engineers but also manufacturers and all the people in supporting roles who make a programme like this happen.”

The British Ministry of Defense currently plans to have the Tempest FCAS manufactured in significant numbers by 2035, which could allow the sixth-generation aircraft to take the role currently employed by the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Tempest

Tempest. Image Credit: Industry handout.

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.

Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. CPT K

    August 31, 2022 at 2:45 pm

    Mr. Suciu indeed might be right about the efficacy of this airframe, but his embrace of economic foibles and fallacies belie any meritorious points. Mr. Suciu falls prey to the fallacy of “what is seen and what is not seen”, of “the forgotten man”, and “the broken window fallacy”. As Bastiat, a French economist some 170 years ago explained:

    “In the department of economy, an act, a habit, an institution, a law, gives birth not only to an effect, but to a series of effects. Of these effects, the first only is immediate; it manifests itself simultaneously with its cause — it is seen. The others unfold in succession — they are not seen: it is well for us, if they are foreseen. Between a good and a bad economist this constitutes the whole difference — the one takes account of the visible effect; the other takes account both of the effects which are seen, and also of those which it is necessary to foresee.”

    Here, Mr. Suciu forgets that every penny, every pound sterling which the government of Great Britain, or any such government wherever situated, spends (no matter in how laudable a fashion), subtracts an identical amount (at least—discounting the borrowing cost of interest if this expenditure is through deficit spending/borrowing) from those who eventually (through debt which will be foisted upon the taxpayer or directly through taxes at present) pay the tab. Thus while “a job” might indeed be created by transferring to a military jet producer vast sums of money either raised by taxation directly or through long term taxation (debt), a corresponding amount of economic expansion in the private marketplace—where consumers direct money to its most highly valued end societally through investment and choice—will now never occur. This is the very definition of an economic loss, not a gain, for along the way there surely is some “overhead” in any venture where a government diverts scarce resources away from their consumer directed “most highly valued end” to some “important” government objective.

    Mr. Suciu falls for an old and well worn economic fallacy… he should study basic economics. I teach this level of analysis even to the youngest soldiers in my company, and I suggest Mr. Suciu avail himself of an economic lesson.

    Thanks,

  2. CPT K

    August 31, 2022 at 3:05 pm

    The bottom line is that government cannot create anything which it does not either first take from the private sector through taxes, or second, through borrowing debt—debt serviced and paid by the private sector’s taxpayer.

    While we may “see” the “new job” created by “new” government spending; we (likely) will never see the private jobs created as a result of diverting money from its most highly valued economic end. This inevitably slows economic growth, instead of accelerating it. What is seen is the new gov’t job… what is not seen is the loss of a private job and the capital taken in taxation/debt.

  3. Jacksonian Libertarian

    August 31, 2022 at 3:57 pm

    Combat aircraft are trucks hauling smart weapons to the battlefield. The opponent that can deliver the highest combat power (quality and quantity of smart weapons) to the battle will win. Getting the weapons to the battlefield without loses, is determined by dispersion (more platforms carrying fewer weapons), stealth (what can’t be targeted), and speed. This means more smart weapons on cheaper platforms that can get the job done.

    Manned aircraft are much too expensive, and reduce the resources that can be spent on the quality and quantity of smart weapons they deliver.

  4. speedster

    August 31, 2022 at 7:11 pm

    The Tempest is not mentioned as an international effort, and the problem could be the UK government history of abandoning high technology projects when they suddenly feel that public finances are under pressure. There is the example of the blue streak, capability to launch a satellite, which was abandoned by the UK government. The UK was uniquely the only government to ever abandon such a capability.

  5. Nick

    September 1, 2022 at 4:56 pm

    Honestly, is this project ever likely to make it into production? Or are the Government just washing money through BAE as per usual? I can’t see it even making it to preproduction before it’s cancelled due to cost or design problems that can’t be overcome within budget, by which time money spent will be over £100b

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