Image: BAE Systems
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a contract extension worth £656 million to BAE Systems to progress the concepting and technology of the next generation combat aircraft, known as Tempest in the UK.
The new funding will build on the ground-breaking science, research and engineering already completed under the first phase of the contract delivered by UK Tempest partners BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, MBDA UK and Rolls-Royce.
The UK Tempest partners, working in close collaboration with the MoD, will now progress the maturity of more than 60 cutting-edge technology demonstrations, digital concepts and new technologies. These are critical to the UK’s sovereign defence capability and will help shape the final requirements – together with the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) partners in Japan and Italy – for the combat air platform, due to enter service with the Royal Air Force by 2035.
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 will make the aircraft one of the world’s most advanced, interoperable, adaptable and connected fighter jets in service, delivering battle-winning next generation weapons to protect the UK and its allies.
Ben Wallace, UK Secretary of State for Defence, said: “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.”
Richard Berthon, MOD Director Future Combat Air, added: “Today, as planned, the UK MOD is releasing the next tranche of funding for future combat air. This shows that the UK is committed to working with international partners to deliver a next-generation fighter jet for 2035. We are facing a growing threat from our adversaries, who are investing in combat air and air defences of their own. By investing in GCAP, we will stay ahead of these intensifying and proliferating threats, and provide a highly credible deterrent capability for decades to come.”