Team Tempest, a collaboration between BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, Rolls-Royce and MBDA UK, is expected to begin developing the new Tempest fighter aircraft alongside the aircraft’s enhanced UAV and data integration network following investment from the UK government this week.
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The Future Combat Air System forms part of the UK Ministry of Defence’ £250 million contract to develop world leading warfighting aircraft.
The initial £250 million investment is to support the concept and assessment phase of the program, with the Ministry of Defence expecting the total investment in the project to grow throughout subsequent phases.
It is hoped that the new Tempest fighter aircraft with an enhanced UAV and data sensing network will enhance the warfighting capability of the RAF by making it "digital first" will enter service in the mid-2030s.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace noted that the recent investment would help the UK maintain its world leading Air Force.
“Today marks a momentous step in the next phase of our Future Combat Air System, with a multimillion-pound investment that draws on the knowledge and skills of our UK industry experts,” Secretary Wallace noted.
“Boosting our already world-leading air industry, the contract will sustain thousands of jobs across the UK and will ensure that the UK remains at the top table when it comes to combat air.”
Richard Berthon, UK director of Future Combat Air, commented that the program will keep the UK safe by ensuring long-term airborne warfighting capabilities.
“This project is hugely important in ensuring the UK and its partners have the skills and technology we need to give us the battle-winning edge for the future,” Berthon said.
“Developing the system allows us to drive a revolution in digital development and harness the power of open systems architecture. We are looking forward to working together with UK industry and international partners to create and deliver a system which will keep us safe for decades to come.”
The announcement comes following the memorandum of understanding last year between the UK, Italy and Sweden to work on the project, as well as the UK Defence Secretary’s visit to the Japanese Defence Minister in Tokyo last week where the pair discussed collaboration on the program's sub-systems.