Economic sustainability is at the heart of the British Tempest program

The British Ministry of Defense announced earlier this week the start of the next development phase of the FCAS program for Futur Combat Air System and its 6th generation fighter jet, the Tempest. For this, London has confirmed an envelope of £ 2 billion to finance developments over the next 4 years, from 2021 to 2025, allowing the program to be long-term, and to maintain its entry-into-service objectives between 2035 and 2040 to replace the Typhoons of the Royal Air Force. This announcement is in itself only the confirmation of what had been established by the new Integrated Strategic Review presented a few months ago, and hardly brings more precision on the exact timetable or the ambitions of the program if not is that the device will not be designed to be able to be embarked on aircraft carriers. This is hardly a surprise, however, since the potential addition of catapults and arrows to British aircraft carriers is only foreseen for aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of 25 tonnes, well below what the Tempest will be. On the other hand, it is accompanied by an independent macroeconomic analysis of the expected effects of the program, to highlight its sustainability over time, and encourage the support of the British themselves.

Indeed, the report by the renowned firm Price Waterhouse Cooper, whose conclusions are annexed to the declaration of the Ministry of Defense, makes it possible to apprehend the implications of the program for the British economy, thanks to the numerous figures put forward. Thus, we learn that the program will require an effort of around £ 1bn per year for 30 years (excluding inflation), and will generate 21.000 jobs on British soil, including 7800 highly skilled direct jobs with an income exceeding £ 100.000 per year. year on average. In total, £ 26,2 billion will be injected into the British economy by this program, apart from any exports or unconfirmed international partnerships. As for the major companies and subcontractors of the program, they will generate a total of more than £ 100bn in economic benefits in the United Kingdom over the next 30 years.

The budget conversion is not indicated, but with an average levy rate in the country of 38% according to Eurostat, and average salary cost of £ 36.000, the program alone will therefore generate £ 300m per year in tax revenue, and the companies participating in it a total of nearly £ 1bn in tax revenue, all activities combined. In other words, and apart from a potential additional activity linked to export contracts, or a sharing of the burden and the investment with partners such as Sweden or Italy, the Tempest program is proving to be economically sustainable for the UK budget, far more so than participation in programs like the F35 can be.


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