Unite representatives from BAE Systems, Leonardo, MBDA and Rolls Royce are heading to parliament later today (Monday 13 May) urging MPs to ensure the continued funding for Tempest, the UK’s replacement of the Typhoon fighter jet.

Plans to develop the next generation of fighter aircraft and £2 billion of funding were signed off in July last year leading to the creation of 400 jobs, with a further 350 working on the project by the end of 2019.

Unite is pressing Penny Mordaunt , the new defence secretary, to continue funding for Tempest by ensuring the 10 year defence equipment plan is fully funded in the comprehensive spending review.

Commenting Unite national officer Rhys McCarthy said: “By 2020 nearly 25 pence in every pound of UK defence spending will be with US companies. It is vital not just for the UK’s sovereign defence capability, but for jobs and skills throughout the manufacturing supply chain that the design and build of projects like Tempest is done here in the UK.

“Unite will continue to press the government to ensure its commitment to the long term funding of Tempest is not watered down under the new defence secretary.

“We will also be calling on MPs to back UK defence jobs by urging the government to pursue procurement policies which favour UK prosperity through onshore design and build rather than buying off the shelf from abroad on short-term economic grounds.”


For more information please contact Alex Flynn Unite head of media and campaigns on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869 

Notes to editors:

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.