A new programme of jet-fighter building is set to create hundreds of jobs for Bristol. The components for the 3,000-strong fleet of F-35 jets are to be created in the UK, looking to create thousands of jobs within the UK aerospace industry. Lockhead Martin, who is leading the project, expects that the design and manufacture of the aircraft will create and sustain around 25,000 jobs over the next 30 years.

The planes are to be built in the US using parts built by 130 different companies from across the United Kingdom, in a project that is expected to increase UK GDP by £28.7 billion over the period between 2009 and 2036.

The Joint Strike Fighter planes are expected to be used by the MoD to replace Harrier and Tornado jets, with two of three test aircraft to be handed over to the UK in June.

The US have bought the largest proportion of orders to provide the majority of its tactical air power, orders have also been made by other countries including Australia, Italy, Canada and the Netherlands.

Fuselage and other structural components will be produced at BAE systems, where work will primarily be based. Other areas to benefit include firms located in Buckinghamshire, Wirral, Lancashire, Dorset, Bristol and Southampton.

Paul Livingston, director of aeronautics for Lockheed Martin in the UK, said,“The basic core programme of F-35 is going to build 3,173 aircraft for multiple users.

“For UK companies, there’s about 130 of them that have won work for the programme, they’ll build the components for all 3,173 of those aircraft and that means roughly for the UK economy about £30 billion in GDP and around 25,000 jobs for the next 30 years.

“It’s really spread across the country so areas that could really do with these kind of hi-tech, high-value jobs that help stimulate the rest of the economy in that area.

“The Government here are looking very much for an export-led agenda, and the thing about that £30 billion is that it is nearly all export money – it’s components being built for these aircraft that will go all around the world.

“So it’s a huge boost and there isn’t a single other programme that would be out there to replace the level of impact this will have for UK industry.”