AN AEROSPACE giant has unveiled a behind the scenes look at ‘the factory of the future’ which will produce the next generation of fighter-jets.

The facility, based at Warton, Lancashire is a key part of the Tempest programme, manufacturing jets for the British, Italian and Swedish air forces.

This is to be carried out in partnership with major Bolton employer MBDA, Rolls Royce and the Ministry of Defence, amongst others.

BAE Systems combat air acquisitions programme director Michael Christie said: “The programme is well placed to support the UK’s economic recovery and make a positive contribution to productivity and prosperity across the UK.”

He added: “It continues to be both a pleasure and responsibility to work on such a programme that will contribute to our nation in so many ways and, along with our Team Tempest partner, we remain committed to delivering this vision for the next generation.”

The Tempest project, which in addition to BAE includes Rolls-Royce, European missile maker MBDA and Leonardo UK, has a budget of £2billion pounds from the UK government to 2025, plus 800 million pounds from the companies over the same period.

It will replace the UK’s current Eurofighter Typhoon programme.

The combat aircraft will be in use from the 2030s and are built in Lancashire, with many local apprentices involved with every stage of the production.

The Warton facility utilises 3D printing, off the shelf gaming technology and artificial intelligence to build the fighter-jets.

It has also brought in dozens of smaller companies and academics from outside the aerospace and defence sector to enhance technological capabilities, with Mr Christie having emphasises the importance of brining arts graduates into the world of engineering.

He refers to the kind of graduates the company hopes to attract as those who have studied ‘STEAM’ subjects, meaning science, technology, arts and mathematics rather than simply ‘STEM’ subjects.

The company also collaborates with several local partners, including the Samlesbury Enterprise Zone, across various sectors of the regional economy.

A total of around 5,000 people are employed at the Warton plant with a further 4,500 employed at BAE Systems’ facility at Samlesbury.

However, the company proved to be a controversial presence in East Lancashire, locally and further afield in recent months.

In particular groups like the Lancashire Peace Forum and the Campaign Against the Arms trade have criticised the use of BAE jet components by the Israeli military in its recent attacks on Palestinian territories.

On May 28 protesters gathered outside the company's Samlesbury plant to call upon BAE Systems to stop supplying components of the US F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program to Israel.

Responding to concerns over the sale of weapons components in June, a BAE Systems spokesperson had said: “Our activities are subject to compliance with international trade control requirements, including US and UK trade control regulations, and our own responsible business trading principles.”