The UK Ministry of Defence has announced more than £650 million in funding to continue the development of the Tempest next-generation fighter jet.
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The Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) is currently under design and development by the UK, Japan, and Italy with an in-service date of 2035.
The newest contract announced on 14 April was awarded to BAE Systems on behalf of British defence firms Leonardo UK, MBDA UK, and Rolls-Royce.
The GCAP was recently shown publicly for the first time at DSEI Japan in March after it was announced by the prime ministers of the UK, Japan, and Italy late last year.
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the GCAP is critical to the UK’s sovereign defence capability and will help shape the final requirements with Japan and Italy for the combat air platform.
“The next tranche of funding for future combat air will help fuse the combined technologies and expertise we have with our international partners, both in Europe and the Pacific, to deliver this world-leading fighter jet by 2035, protecting our skies for decades to come,” he said.
The UK government has now committed more than £2 billion worth of spending on the project up to May 2025.
BAE Systems Air future combat air systems managing director Herman Claesen said the aircraft is designed to be an innovative stealth fighter with supersonic capability and equipped with cutting-edge technologies, including state-of-the-art sensing and protection capabilities.
“This contract reflects the continued commitment by the UK government and ensures we continue to mature this significant program and the vital technology pipeline that will drive innovation into -— and beyond — the combat air sector for decades to come.
“This important work is at the core of the newly created Global Combat Air Programme, a major international partnership and ambitious endeavour between the UK, Japan, and Italy, with the shared goal to deliver the next generation of combat air fighter jets by 2035.”