F-35 fighter jet worth £14bn to North West economy

Lancashire’s involvement with the F-35 fighter jet will be worth a colossal £14bn to the North West in the coming years, manufacturer Lockheed Martin has revealed.
The F-35 is being used by the RAFThe F-35 is being used by the RAF
The F-35 is being used by the RAF

The American aircraft, now being delivered to the RAF, is partly built at BAE Systems’ site at Samlesbury before being shipped over to the States for final assembly.

It is being readied to operate from British aircraft carriers.

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Lockheed Martin has commissioned KPMG to do an economic impact report on the F-35’s impact in the UK.

And it has revealed it will generate between 2007 and 2038 a massive £14.7bn in the North West, mainly via BAE Systems and its supply chain.

It is also predicted to support 20,000 jobs a year, nearly half of them in the region.

Peter Ruddock, chief executive of Lockheed Martin UK, revealed analysis involving production, sustainment and follow-on development phases of the programme.

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The benefits extend to companies both large and small across the UK, with the greatest regional impact being in the North.

Lockheed Martin has now delivered more than 20 F-35s – billed as “the most advanced fighter in the world” – to the UK.

The production of sections of the F-35 at BAE Systems, along with the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Hawk trainer jet, safeguards and creates thousands of jobs across Lancashire.

The UK produces 15 per cent of every F-35.

Mr Ruddock said the F-35’s estimated £40bn GVA to the UK was a “conservative” figure.

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Steve Callaghan, vice president of F-35 business development, said the F-35 was a critical element of the UK’s national combat air strategy.

He said: “It is also delivering and bringing new jobs and having a significant economic impact now and for the future.”

Mr Callaghan said the UK would remain a world leader in combat air design and production.

In 2020, 74 F-35s were delivered to the United States military, 31 to international partner nations and 18 to foreign military sales customers.